By Cloie Swain, Staff Writer
By Cloie Swain, Staff Writer
Anyone from the Norco campus using Riverside Transit Agency’s Go Pass program for free rides, get your last hurrah out now.
Come August, the free rides will come to an end for that campus.
Well, at least for one out of the three campuses of the Riverside Community College District.
The RTA’s Go Pass vote was passed for both the Riverside and Moreno Valley Campuses, but failed in Norco in the two day vote April 1 and 2.
With a “No” vote count of 417, a “Yes” count of only 151, and 29 void votes, the measure failed on Norco’s campus only.
The Riverside Campus saw and overwhelming pass with 460 “Yes” votes, only 284 “No’s”, and a meager 20 void votes. Moreno Valley cut it closer with 163 “Yes,” 109 “No,” and seven void votes, but still approved it.
A completely student driven chance to have a positive aspect of being enrolled at RCC has been axed for the Norco Campus.
And for the reason that some among the Norco student body do not want to cough up $5.50 a semester for something that could have been someone’s only way of getting to school.
Unfortunately, those who voted against the measure may have used the flawed logic: If a student has a car and is paying for a parking pass, why should they have to pay for someone else to take the bus?
The answer is ridiculously simple.
What happens when your car breaks down, you have no change, and everyone you know is busy?
That solid and dependable bus, that rain or shine free ride that was the best contingency plan is now no longer accessible for that campus.
Considering how it is located quite a drive away for students who are in Riverside, Corona, and even parts of Norco itself, this failed measure will potentially alienate many who depended on the ride from the Go Pass program.
Unfortunately, for the students at Norco, the greater good is what was needed in that vote.
Maybe, many of the students here are lucky enough to have a car to get to school, work, wherever.
But this vote was specifically for those who are not able to use a car for whatever reason.
And they are now in a tight spot.
Having to pay the registration fees is not fun at all.
The mysterious fees that are seemingly tacked on for no apparent reason are enough to make anyone mad. But this charge had a clairvoyant purpose. It would have kept the free rides going for all students on the Norco campus.
Not just a certain group for a certain purpose, but for every RCC Norco student, going anywhere on any RTA bus at any time.
There were over an estimated 1.3 million rides taken by RCC students since the inception of the Go Pass program which, at a rate of $1.50 per regular fee for a bus ride, saved over one million dollars.
That money, saved by students, could have gone to pay for classes, books, and supplies to do better at the school in which they were easily and reliably able to get to.
But now, not so much for the students in Norco. So what, other than blatant selfishness, went wrong?
It could have been the lack of voting. There were only 597 votes cast on the RTA ballot initiative for the Norco vote.
Which is absurd, considering how there are more people on that bustling campus on a Monday morning than the total number of votes.
In the end, the blame lays on many. Not voting in any sort of way (aside from “American Idol”) is inexcusable.
Indifference might very well be the largest culprit of this injustice to the Go Pass riders.
Having a car does not eliminate your responsibility to your fellow students, and a measly $5 to have a steady contingency plan.
Those who voted to kick the Go Pass program exercised their right.
But just because they did the right thing by voting does not mean that the best for the student population was preserved.
Luckily this was contained to Norco, so the students attending the Riverside and Moreno Valley campuses will continue to reap the many benefits of this program.