Texas has a big election coming up, and Tarrant County is doing its part to help get out the vote by granting free rides.
Texas is part of Super Tuesday, taking place on March 3, when voters can vote in the primary election for U.S. president.
The early voting period begins on February 18 and runs through February 28 — and voters in Tarrant County can catch free rides to the polls on six transit services.
The transit services included in the program are:
- Trinity Metro’s fixed-route bus
- ACCESS paratransit
- Tarrant County Transportation Services (TCTS)
- Northeast Transportation Services (NETS)
- Via in Arlington
Those who qualify and want to ride to vote on ACCESS, TCTS, NETS, or Handitran need to call at least 48 hours ahead of the trip to schedule their free ride to any Tarrant County Vote Center.
The Tarrant County Commissioners Court approved a partnership with four transportation services to pay for customer trips to voting locations, not only on Election Day but for the entire early voting period.
The Commissioners Court also approved early voting locations at nine college campus sites.
Total cost for the plan is not to exceed $20,000. Trinity Metro manager Tiffany Moore-Turner says the goal is to encourage voter participation.
"Providing free transportation is an excellent way to help voters get to the polls," Moore-Turner says. "We appreciate the Tarrant County Commissioners Court for funding this initiative."
Meanwhile, the Texas Secretary of State signed off on countywide vote centers, meaning that voters in Tarrant County can go to any polling place on Election Day.
"With vote centers, early voting sites on college campuses and free rides to the polls, Tarrant County is giving voters every opportunity to participate in the upcoming March 3 primaries," says Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley in a statement. "We are including as many public transit providers as possible within Tarrant County, from accessible services for the elderly and mobility-impaired, to on-demand service in Arlington."
To use Via’s on-demand service in Arlington to vote, download Via's app; enter the address of a Vote Center within Via's service area along with promo code ARLINGTONVOTE; or call 817-794-7382 to hail a ride by phone. The rider will not be charged for trips scheduled to or from a Vote Center location.