SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – A new program is helping kids get around town easier. Whether they need to get to school or a job, the ‘Kids Ride Free’ initiative will help decrease some of the travel barriers.

You can find Sioux Area Metro buses buzzing around the city.

Now riders 18 and younger can ride for free.

“Over the past 12 months, we’ve had more than 15,000 youth riders in our system, so kids are already using the system,” Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken said.

Two of the goals of this program are to remove financial barriers and increase the number of riders.

“Whether it’s getting to school, a part-time job, soccer practice, sports practice,” TenHaken said.

To get a free ride, kids just need to show their school ID to the driver when they get on the bus.

“If they don’t have a school ID, and they’re a middle or high school-aged child, all they need to do is go to the Sioux Area Metro offices and they can get what’s called a Freedom Pass, it’s free of charge,” senior planner, City of Sioux Falls, Sam Trebilcock said.

For kids 10 years and younger, they must be accompanied by an adult.

“Sioux Area Metro is very committed to safety, that’s their number one priority, to make sure kids and everyone is able to get to their destination in the safest way possible, that includes, there’s a surveillance system, camera system, on the busses,” Trebilcock said.

School officials say this is just another way to help students get a better education.

“Any of the opportunities they have to be able to get here in a safe manner, a timely manner, is something we are in favor of if we can get them here and in their seats and be able to provide an education, when they are here on a daily basis, and in their seats, our students will gain a great education,” assistant superintendent, Sioux Falls School District, Jamie Nold said.

Prior to the start of this initiative, public transit was only free to kids during the summer months.