The Capital Area Transit System will allow passengers under 17 years old to ride buses for free in December.

The parish bus system’s board of directors approved the move this week as a pilot program. By waiving the fares for the youth riders, CATS is hoping to encourage the use of public transit when they are older.

The one-month trial will be used to gauge the interest of young riders and determine if the program could later be extended. “If we can demonstrate the value of public transit to people when they are young, we hope to convert them into lifelong customers,” CATS CEO Bob Mirabito said in a statement.

Young riders should provide an identification card proving they are 17 years or younger to the bus operator. If a person does not have a valid driver’s license, they can present a high school ID. Children 12 and younger should be accompanied by an adult.

CATS is also running a “Black Friday” deal where CATS users can order regular passes at a 15 percent discount at the CATS Terminal on Florida Boulevard or online at www.brcats.com on Nov. 27.