In partnership with the OCTA , Fullerton College held an event to kick-start a free public transportation program for students, on September, 12 in the quad.
As an effort to expand their program that started in 2017, at Santa Ana college, the OCTA is now collaborating with Fullerton College to offer all part time and full time students free immediate access to the Orange County bus system. This allows them to get to school, work, or wherever else in Orange County this semester.
Students can board any OCTA bus for free with the new student id cards available in the student center or via the OC bus app.
During the event, President Greg Schulz stated that this program will help combat three major issues in our community. The first being a focus on sustainability. With more students taking the bus, less greenhouse emissions will come from students driving their cars. Also, parking will be less hectic since the bus will reduce the number of cars both on and around the campus. Lastly, Fullerton College and OCTA are committed to ensuring students have all their basic needs including affordable education and transportation.
This program also launched this semester at other OC schools such as Golden West College and Santiago Canyon College resulting in a total of 2.3 million bus boardings recorded across the county. Here at Fullerton College, over 10,000 initial rides have been recorded within the first two weeks.
OCTA Chairman of the board Tim Shaw said, “For years now our rider-ship, system wise, has been declining. So, this is a great way to hopefully turn that around,”
The free bus passes are being funded by a 3 year campaign where the first year is completely paid for by the state of California through cap and trade. The following years will be paid for by the students via an additional $5 charge when they register.
Prior to this program, if a student wanted to take the bus, they would have to pay $2 per ride, $5 for a day pass, or $185 for a full semester. Students who take advantage of this initiative are expected to see major savings.
“We love the idea of introducing young people to the bus system, and hopefully they continue to be our riders for years to come,” Shaw stated.
Associated Students president Selena Cruz mentioned that she feels this program will reassure students who are suffering from financial or transportation problems by ensuring they have a free ride to anywhere in Orange County.
“It shows we are moving forward instead of staying stagnant,” Cruz explained.
The event ended with refreshments and served as a reminder to take advantage of the opportunities Fullerton college has to offer.