College students in the Los Angeles metro area expressed their desire to refine the county’s student transit pass system at a recent Transit Pass Advocacy Summit. The recent summit brought together students representing colleges in the Los Angeles area including L.A. Mission College, East L.A. Community College and Long Beach City College. at L.A. Trade Tech College.
According to a report from transit news source StreetBlog, Stephanie Wiggins, Deputy CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority — Metro for short — announced at the summit changes that the agency plans to make to its student transit pass program. The proposed changes are expected to go before the Metro board for approval later this month.
At the heart of the issue is that the current system only provides discounted passes to full-time students, leading to the belief that some students enroll in additional credit hours to qualify for the passes. Moreover, the summit highlighted that buses only arrive once per hour on schedules that aren’t aligned to class schedules, making student use of the system impossible.
In response to student concerns, Metro has outlined proposed changes to the agency’s student transit pass programs. The proposal includes two modifications designed to make it easier for students to obtain discounted passes and boost student ridership:
On-Campus Enrollment. Current procedures require students to either mail in applications or report to a central, off-campus location in downtown Los Angeles in order to receive a contactless Transit Access Pass, or TAP card. Under the proposed changes, however, students will be able to enroll on their college campus during registration or orientation. Instead of a separate TAP card, students will receive a TAP-enabled sticker that would be adhered to their student ID card. This program is currently being piloted in Long Beach, with plans to expand to a further batch of area colleges.
Part-Time Student Eligibility. Currently Metro student passes are only available for full-time students enrolled in 12 or more credit hours. The new program would initially move away from the full-time requirement, first down to 8 credits with the possibility of dropping the requirement to 6 credits.
Metro officials reported that the current student pass system costs the agency an estimated $8 million annually and serves and some 14,000 students.