Everyone gets a pass

Valley College students should go and vote in support of the subsidized transportation fee.

By Gabriel Arizon, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The upcoming ASU student election will feature a transportation referendum that will give students a subsidized bus and train pass. Given the low price and ease of which the bus/train pass can be acquired, this is a referendum that Valley College students should be giving their support.

The transportation pass offered will cost a cheaply $13 per semester and will feature an unlimited number of rides. Any Valley student taking credits can get one, and new information by Dean of Student Life Elizabeth Negrete states that the pass will not just cover Metro buses and trains, but also other municipal bus lines including Long Beach Transit, Pasadena Transit, Norwalk Transit, Big Blue Bus and Torrance Transit (includes DASH and LADOT).

There is a reason why almost all the colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District is including a similar referendum in their student elections (Pierce College being the sole outlier): the transportation pass is incredibly beneficial for students who greatly need it and highly inexpensive to those who may see less of a use for it.

Standard fare for the bus and train is $1.75. If a student took a bus to and from school four days a week for the whole semester (around 16 weeks), they would be paying $224. If a student has to work, the cost can go even higher. A monthly Metro pass is $100, which could cost a student $300 to $400 a semester.

The cheapest monthly pass a student can buy is $43, as part of the College/Vocational TAP card program. However, they must provide proof of enrollment in an accredited school in the LA County, a full-face photo, a photo ID and must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units for a minimum of three months. Students have to go out of their way to get this pass, and even then, it still does not apply to everybody. Students that need to work and cannot take that many units find themselves losing out on a steep discount.

Conversely, the referendum is a one-time fee per semester and every student can obtain one. There are no limitations, no hoops nor hurdles. If similar math applied above is used here, the fee would only cost approximately 20 cents a day. This is a big deal, both literally and figuratively.

It is understandable if students who mainly use cars for travel see no need for the referendum. After all, a study showed that over 60 percent of Valley students use cars to get to school. However, almost a quarter said they would use a bus if a reduced price was offered. That is too big a number to ignore.

Besides, how often do you think about the cost of that morning cup of coffee you buy from Starbucks? Or the fast food you get when you want a quick bite to eat? How about the health fee you already pay now? Can you really say there will not be a situation where you may need one?

It is understandable that some may feel slighted for paying for a bus pass when they have a car, but $13 that lasts for a whole semester is more than a reasonable ask. This benefits those who are financially disadvantaged and those who may not be getting financial aid. For them, this pass is invaluable. The election starts April 22 and runs for a week. When the time comes, go out and vote “yes.”