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Reduced bus fare being sought

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By Aletheia Meloncon

The comings and goings of many RCC students depend heavily on the public transportation system. (Christopher Ullyott)

By Aletheia Meloncon

Riverside Community College District has started a joint effort with the Riverside Transit Agency to offer discounted fares to students. The negotiations, which began in October, aim to help with the growing population of the area, the traffic congestion and environmental issues that Riverside now faces.

Riverside is one of the fastest growing counties in the United States. With such rapid growth, there are many issues that are encountered, such as the growth of traffic volume and the deteriorating environment.

The partnership of the RCC district and RTA will offer students an alternative to driving to school by offering a discounted pass or fare that encourages student to take the bus, with the idea that less cars on the road will help to ease traffic congestion and smog issues that have plagued Southern California for decades.

“The RCCD-RTA pass is a potential innovative, low-cost partnership that would guarantee transportation access to RCCD students anywhere in Riverside County 24/7,” RCC Student Advocate Jorge Flores said.

Although the negotiations are in the beginning stages, it would follow current bus discount pass programs that adjoining counties have already put in effect, such as Los Angeles and San Diego County.

According to Flores, these programs have been successful at several schools including University of Irvine, Cal State Los Angeles, Los Angeles Trade Tech, University of California Los Angeles, Rio Hondo College and the University of California Riverside.

Flores is encouraging students to support the partnership by voicing their opinions to the RCC Board of Trustees who will fund the program.

“If students act quickly, the program could become a reality for students as early as Fall 2007,” he said.

The students of the Riverside, Norco and Moreno Valley campuses would enjoy a discounted fare.

“The RCCD-RTA pass would be a great benefit for students to go to the library among other places in Riverside,” student Ramone Greene said. Greene has been using the RTA bus system for three years.

According to Flores, their was a positive response when the student senate committee was given a presentation of the proposal on March 15 for review. He stated that the overall attitude was to move the proposal ahead by first starting off with a survey created by the committee.

There is also a possibility of RTA coming to the college to encourage students to participate. Flores believes these steps are necessary for the proposal will have substantial evidence to support it when going to the Board of Trustees.

Other supporters of the proposal are Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge who is well aware of the efforts between RCCD and RTA.

“The mayor encourages the partnership and is in complete support as traffic mitigation is one of the City’s top priorities,” Flores said.

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