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June 1-Aug 31: Summer Youth Pass from MST – And tips for taking your bike aboard Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST)


3 teens on fairground rd after schoolIn summer 2017

how can eco-minded youth get around Monterey County?

That’s right, eco-minded: ecology-minded and economy-minded—youth who want to spare the air and otherwise help the environment while they spare their wallets, or their families’ budgets.

An answer for people 18 and younger comes from Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) / “The Bus”: Summer Youth Pass (AKA Summer Youth GoPass). And for summer 2017, MST still hasn’t raised their price for helping youth get where they need to go. That pass provides youth unlimited rides, anywhere MST goes, from June 1 through August 31. And the total price is $38 for all three months.

Youth 18 and younger are always eligible for discounted fares on MST. But the cost of three 31-Day Super (goes anywhere MST goes) Discount GoPasses is $285. The cost of three 31-Day Regular (limited service areas) Discount GoPasses is $147. You can see why it makes sense to instead purchase the $38 Summer Youth Pass!

Watsonville? Yes! The MST goes out of county too.

Where to buy the MST Summer Youth GoPass

Beginning in May, the Summer Youth GoPass can be purchased at the MST online store (http://www.mst.org/about-mst/mst-store/) or in person at an MST customer service location, including the MST Bus Stop Shop in Monterey, Marina Transit Exchange, and Salinas Transit Center. (Click here for MST’s contact page, which lists addresses and hours of customer service locations.) Or if those aren’t convenient purchase options for you, phone MST to purchase your pass by phone and have it sent to you via postal mail. Contact MST with any questions.

Ride the bus where it will take you, then use your own two wheels to pedal the remainder.
Below you’ll find some tips on using MST, including tips for bike-and-riders. For lots of MST tips—including about bike lockers at Marina and Salinas transit centers, wifi on buses or at bus stops, transit app, transit connections, and more, see the bike-and-ride section of Tips for Bicycling Monterey County 20-section guide,
Since the time this post was first published in 2014, Bicycling Monterey has also created the following new post of popular MST tips:

Click here for tips (for all ages) on what to do when MST’s bike racks on buses are full, or when there’s no rack on an MST trolley—plus many more MST tips.

Update: Another reason to love MST—their new partnership with the Community Human Services’ program Safe Place, which is Monterey County’s only comprehensive program for runaway and homeless youth. Beginning June 13, 2017, most MST buses and trolleys will prominently display National Safe Place logos on the exterior and Safe Place posters inside with contact information about the program. The logo will indicate to at-risk youth that the MST buses and trolleys are safe places to ask for help. Learn more: MST and Safe Place Joint Press Release, which notes that “MST provides bus service…as far south as Templeton, Paso Robles, and Big Sur and as far north as Santa Cruz and San Jose.”

 Okay, back to info on MST’s Summer Youth Pass and bike-and-ride tips.

Okay, Mom and Dad. I have my helmet.  Now may I please bike-and-ride to the mall with my friends? (California law requires bicycle helmets for people under 18. More about helmets below.)

(Photo above courtesy of Simon Bull.)

Want to meet up with your friends at the mall, like the teen above, maybe do some shopping by bike or just hang out? MST goes to the Carmel Plaza, Monterey’s Del Monte Center, Edgewater in Sand City, Northridge in Salinas, Soledad Mission Shopping Center, and more.
Where will the bus and your bike take you? Here are a few examples:

10. Where to Bike in Monterey County

Bicycle maps / Mapas de bicicletas – en español and English for Monterey County, plus other bike maps

More places to bike

You’ll find plenty of ideas in the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County 20-section guide, as well as in over 500 posts and pages of info on this site. Looking for tips on particular local cities?  Below is a start.

Got work?

An MST bus and your bike can take youth to many summer job locations too.

Want to bike to work but worried something will cause you to be late to work, such as a bicycle break-down? If you are bike commuting or using the MST bus or other alternative transportation, even one day a week, you can get reimbursed for a taxi cab of up to $60 if the unexpected occurs. (Parents and others old enough to rent a car can get reimbursed for rental car fee or taxi.) How? Sign up to participate in the Emergency Ride Home program administered by the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC). The program has gone through various changes over the years, so contact TAMC for the latest info.

Another tip: if you’re taking a long, sweaty, fun ride with friends before you need to show up for work later in the day, click here for some shower and change locations.

Traveling at night?

Using MST is a helpful alternative to biking alone or in very small groups at night. Also see biking in the dark tips.

Be cool, be safe

Laws: Want a short summary of  Cali bike laws? See Be Cool, Be Safe – bike law summaryand SPANISH 2-to-a-pg flier re Spanish resources or Leyes de ciclismo de CA – Laws for bicyclists in CA (Spanish, English) – Summary.

Laws and safety tips: Check out riding skills, safety, and CA bike laws for lots of useful info. There’s info ranging from cautions about biking on sidewalks (including local ordinances about sidewalk riding and more) to many specific tips for teens, children, and babies.

Be seen: Some people who bike say, “Better to be looked over than overlooked” and prefer to make use of high visibility clothing or accessories. Hi-vis doesn’t have to cost a lot. You can pick up an $8 hi-vis vest in Seaside at Graniterock (easy to pop on when biking, then pop off and shove into your daypack at other times). Or shop for bright colors at Goodwill or other thrift stores. And of course, there are more options at local bike shopsClick here for details on these and other hi-vis tips.

Don’t have a a bike?

See Bicycle Shops in Monterey County–and Tips on New and Used Bike Purchases.

Also see Used Bikes for Sale: And better yet, from professionals at local bike shops!

Even a used bike is hard for your budget? Gears4Good.org is a nonprofit that may be able to help. Email Steve Benes about your need for a bike to ride to school, work, etc. steve@gears4good.org

Parents putting the brakes on? 

Scroll to “Parents still concerned about safety?” near the end of this post.  Depending on your age and other factors, if you read this post and are well informed, your parents may surprise you by saying “Sounds good!” when you suggesting using your bike and an MST bus.

Has your bike been gathering dust? Get a bicycle safety inspection from a local bike shop, or if you or someone you know is knowledgeable, do it yourself.

If parents like the DIY idea and want you to learn to fix your own flat tires, sign up for classes in bike maintenance (for children ages 8 and up, for teens, and for adults). These City of Monterey Parks & Rec classes are open to any local or non-resident and are taught by expert mechanics from a locally owned bike shop.

How to take your bike on an MST bus

On the MST website, you’ll find: bicycle-loading instrux.  Where? Click here, then scroll down.   (Whenever you’re on the MST.org site, here’s how to find those:   Highlight the Rider’s Guide tab with your mouse; highlight How to Ride, then Transit Tips;  click on Transit Tips, then scroll down for “Bike Loading Instructions.”)

Sorry, MST no longer posts Spanish documents about bicycle-loading, etc.  (Just fyi, you can find other types of Spanish-language bicycling information on Bicycling Monterey’s Spanish resources page.)

Many more tips on taking your bike aboard an MST bus are available.

They are on the Bicycling Monterey website! MST and Bicycling Monterey communicate regularly about the particulars of taking your bike aboard an MST bus.  You’ll find tips you can trust for taking your bike aboard an MST bus in the Bike-and-Ride section of  Tips for Bicycling Monterey County.

Route questions?

Call MST (1-888-MST-BUS-1).

MST Transit Connections:  Hooking up with other mass transit.

Want to visit your cousin in a neighboring county?  If you’re old enough that your parents are comfortable with you doing it without them, take a friend along, and make the trip using MST’s transit connections.  Too young to do that, and your parents say gas costs too much to drive there?  Get them to take a day trip with you, using transit connections. (Remember that your Summer Youth Pass takes you anywhere MST goes. If you then connect with another transit provider, such as Santa Cruz Metro, be prepared to pay the fee for that other transit provider’s service.)

Like, why bike?

Among the many benefits that biking provides:

a safe and sane form of recreation…

an economical and environmentally friendly form of  transportation….
and a great way to skip traffic…..

 

an exciting activity to share with family and friends…

health-building exercise…

and a positive adrenal boost!

More biking tips for youth in Monterey County:

Bilingual Spanish-English bike shop professionals in Monterey County, and other resources en español

More ways to save money

Take advantage of discounts for male and female bicyclists at over 200 places throughout Monterey County on Thursdays year-round.  How? Bike or bike-and-ride (not just a block or two, but as far as your stamina and schedule allow).  Click here for HER Helmet Thursdays listings, plus FAQs.

Questions or comments?

Feel free to phone me anytime.

Parents still concerned about safety?

That’s because you’re precious! Refer them to Protecting the Gift:  Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe–and Parents Sane. Tell them you’ll be glad to discuss their concerns and to follow their suggestions–then do it.

And if they still aren’t ready to let you bike too far, get them out biking with you soon, and show them your stuff!  Once they see that you’ve studied up on those safety tips, will wear your helmet (as 17-year-old Kyle of Salinas would urge you if he could), will only wear one earbud (so other ear is alert to sounds around you), and are otherwise becoming increasingly savvy about traveling safely, they’ll start to expand your boundaries.

See “Happy Bike Month, Monterey County from Salinas Police and Your Entire Bike Community” for some more ideas.

Work with your parents.  Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the freedom of two wheels, boosted by an MST Summer Youth GoPass June 1 – August 31!

Parents have concerns about helmets?

Ask  local bike shops about their coolest-looking helmets. One youth helmet that rated very well in a Consumer Reports test is Bontrager’s Solstice Youth. Ask for it (or others that rate well) at a local bike shop.

Where to get a Bontrager Solstice Youth in Monterey County

Bontrager distributors in Monterey County include Carmel Bicycle in the Carmel Rancho II Shopping Center at the mouth of Carmel Valley (next to the Barnyard), and Bobcat Bicycles in Oldtown Salinas.  The helmets may not be in stock but can be ordered by these shops.

 

This post was previously published May 20, 2014. 

 

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