Kristopher Fortin (e.g. Journalist)

A.S. launches transportation subsidy to lessen pricey commute for students

By. Kristopher Fortin  for the Daily Sundial

Published on October 22, 2009

Associated Students will be offering a $20 public transportation subsidy for students, reducing the price of a monthly Metro bus pass to $16 a month.

The subsidy program, which started in July, has already received positive feedback from student riders, and it is expected to continue, said Ken Etter, A.S. manager of support services.

“We think the program is going to help a lot of people,” Etter said.

Part-time and full-time students at any unit level are eligible to receive the discount, Etter said.

Students only have to show their student identification card at the Ticket Office in order to get the subsidy, said Victoria Combre, a ticket office employee. The subsidy is given to students that purchase monthly Metro bus passes, two 10-trip passes, or 20 fares on Metrolink, and a monthly pass for the Antelope Valley Transit Authority. Only one subsidy can be given per student, which reduces the overall amount paid for qualifying fares.

The subsidy is a separate program from the other student-discounted fares already offered through A.S. In order to get the best savings, student discounted fares still need to be ordered through the Ticket Office. Students need a student-specific TAP payment card in order to get a discounted monthly Metro pass, and the process for obtaining the non-subsidized student discounted fares through Metro will remain the same.

The program, which was given $40,000 in funding from the Campus Quality Fee, is expected to last a few months, but there is no specific timetable, Etter said.

If the program is successful, Kent said, he assumes that it will receive new funds from the A.S. senate or alternative sources. Talks for the program started in April, and passage followed in the A.S. senate a few months later.

This year’s sales are expected to pass last year’s total of 1,718 tickets.

“We think there will be a 28 percent increase,” said John Valdez, the A.S. Ticket Office manager.

Faculty and staff get discounts that make their fares exponentially less expensive than the regular student discounted fares before the student subsidy, Combre said.

With the subsidy, the gap between faculty and staff discount, and student discount has narrowed, but the faculty and staff discount remains higher, Combre said.

Freshman English major Joseph Monterroso said he didn’t know about the subsidy program, but said he would consider using the program because there is a Metrolink station near his home in Palmdale.

Freshman business and marketing major Natalie Moghim said she didn’t know about the program, and isn’t sure whether it is a good way to use student fees.

“I’m not using it,” Moghim said. “Then again, if it’s helping people, it’s good.”

Junior Biology major Bryant Orta was able to ride the bus this summer for $15 per month because of a family member that gets him a discounted Metro bus pass.

When asked if he didn’t have the discount he already gets, would he use the subsidy program, Orta said, “If I knew CSUN could offer the same price I was getting somewhere else, of course.”

http://sundial.csun.edu/2009/08/as-launches-transportation-subsidy-to-lessen-pricey-commute-for-students/