Oct. 16, 2014
Article by Lawrence Manns | Assistant News Editor
Riverside Transit Agency has billed itself as a premier way to travel anywhere in Riverside County since its founding in 1977 by investing in buses, trolleys and community services.
Riverside City College has benefited from these services with three bus routes to and from the campus and free travel through the use of the RCC ID card. These services will be changing in the next month with RTA’s 10-year plan replacing the current service program.
The Associated Students of Riverside City College have played a major role in RTA’s community outreach program by hosting an open forum Sept. 30 to gauge the public opinion and bring awareness to the changes to the transit system. They are currently looking to inform the students of these changes and facilitating these changes for the student body.
RTA’s 10-year plan includes major changes to bus routes and services. A significant part of this program was inviting the community to provide feedback and commentary about what was wanted in regards to services that would most benefit the community.
“As far as its going, talks are being encouraged, getting the big picture instead of something one sided,” said Ray Orozco president of ASRCC . “Everyone involved is aware of it now, and that’s kind of the main goal, to raise awareness of this issue.”
ASRCC took advantage of this opportunity and began considering options for RCC’s part in the 10-year plan.
“Our relationship with RTA is a partnership. We have to work with them just as much as they need to work with us.” Orozco said.
In order to achieve this goal the deadline for implementing these changes has been pushed back to October.
RTA also added more board meetings that representatives from other organizations can attend. Pamphlets with information about the 10-year plan were distributed to the local schools and businesses. They also held a series of open forums, providing the chance for the community to review and provide commentary on the changes.
RCC had the opportunity to hold one of these forums, giving the opportunity for students to have their voice heard. The forum was held in the cafeteria from 12:50-1:50 p.m. Sept. 30.
“There were a lot of students eating lunch in the cafeteria, a lot of people had the chance to listen and get involved,” said Ryan Rudolph, ASRCC vice president.
Rudolph was helping run the forum and observed a lot of participation.
“At our open forum, there were students getting up and talking about the changes and the routes. I believe that students who ride the bus do care about what’s going to happen.” Rudolph said. “RCC students do truly care about their buses.”
“We’re seeing them listening to what we have to say and reacting to issues, it’s really satisfying,” Rudolph said.
Rudolph estimates that 75 percent of the campus has used the transit service at some point, and that 30 to 45 percent of the campus depends on it to get to and from school.
The college has some concerns to worry about with the implementation of the 10-year plan, one being the negotiation of new contracts between RTA and RCC. According to Rudolph the deadline is coming up quickly and the college has to decide what they want to get out of the transit service that will most benefit the students. For example, the bus routes that run down Magnolia. This, and other issues, will be brought up at the board meetings where the new contracts will be drafted.
“We’re trying to figure out how the deal is going to work,” Rudolph said. “RTA may make a decision like, ‘Students can use their ID’s as a pass but will need to pay 50 cents each time.’ That’s important. We need to be informed on negotiations and the terms of agreement.”
The 10-year plan is expected to go into effect before November.