LANCASTER – A College Student Pass Program for Antelope Valley College students was recently approved by the Antelope Valley Transit Authority’s board of directors, the agency announced Tuesday.
The new program will be available for students who are enrolled in six or more units per semester. The pilot phase of the program will provide free bus passes for the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters, using $80,000 in grant funds awarded by the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District (AVAQMD), along with matching funds from Antelope Valley College.
“The joint partnership between AVAQMD, AVC and AVTA has created the positive outcome we have been working towards, and is really a win-win for all, especially the students,” stated Board Chair Marvin Crist. “We are grateful for the generosity of the AVAQMD, and are hopeful that this program will be sustainable for years to come.”
More than 15,000 students attended Antelope Valley College on the Lancaster and Palmdale campuses last fall. Pending Antelope Valley Community College Board of Trustee approval, the College Student Bus Pass will be available through an application process to eligible AVC students beginning in August. The pass, in the form of a special TAP card, will be valid for 16 weeks on all local AVTA bus routes. Students will be required to show their AVC student ID card in addition to tapping the pass on the bus fare box when boarding.
AVAQMD helped fund the program to encourage people to use public transportation and keep more cars off the streets, thereby reducing traffic congestion and air pollution. The funds come from the Mobile Source Emissions Reduction Program annual fee of $4 as part of vehicle registration. The $80,000 in matching funds contributed by AVC come from Student Equity and other categorical programs on campus, which are designed to help increase access for students.
“This program will significantly aid students in their educational pursuits as it eliminates a significant obstacle for them — reliable and consistent transportation to the college,” stated AVC President Ed Knudson. “Having this resource available to students is certain to enhance class attendance, resulting in greater academic success.”
“Taking the bus to school is a great alternative to driving, and AVTA offers the convenience of several local routes with stops at most high schools and colleges in the community,” Engel added. “AVTA can help students save time and money by eliminating the need for fuel, costly parking fees and navigating traffic. We are currently working to establish partnerships with other local schools besides AVC, and hope to make the free pass available to all local college students in the future.”
[Information via news release from the Antelope Valley Transit Authority.]