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Garcetti delivers dollars

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

A “Go Metro back to school” event was held at the roundabout on Valley’s campus.

By Cassandra Nava, Managing Editor

Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at the Go Metro Back to School speech where the U.S. Department of Education presented a 1 million dollar check to the Los Angeles Community College District on September 21, 2022, at Los Angeles Valley College. (Griffin O'Rourke | Valley Star)

Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke on campus yesterday to celebrate the LACCD’s continued partnership with Metro as the GoPass program extends until 2023.

Valley College’s Fulton avenue entrance was transformed into a stage for student speakers, the Metro CEO, the mayor and members of the LACCD board as they celebrated the continued funding of Metro’s GoPass program. Parked at the roundabout was a zero emission accordion Metro bus, acting as a backdrop for the speakers.

“We branded this as the GoPass, but this is really the freedom pass,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggans. “When you think about what it means: free from reducing congestion, free from the negative impacts of climate change.”

The district recently acquired a $1 million grant through Congressional Directed Funding from the office of Senator Diane Feinstein, allowing all community colleges in Los Angeles County to take advantage of the program. Last December, Metro partnered with the district to offer their over 200,000 students free rides on Metro buses and trains. About one fourth of the district students utilize public transportation for college. The program was scheduled to run for a full year, ending on Dec. 31. The initiative will now run until the end of the 2023 academic year.

District board member Andra Hoffman shared statistics from a recent district study, sharing that over half of the LACCD students live at or below the poverty line. With the continuation of the Metro program, students will have one less expense to worry about.

“For these students, a fareless public transit is life-changing and makes the difference between choosing to spend money on food or transportation to get to school,” said Hoffman. “It meant the difference between dropping out — due to their inability to make it to class — or getting a degree and actually making it on time.”

(L-R) Eric Garcetti, Andra Hoffman and Barry Gribbons talk before the Go Metro Back to School speech at Valley College. (Griffin O'Rourke | Valley Star)

For regular Metro users, a TAP card is required to use when entering buses or trains. The card, which can be purchased for a one time fee of $3.50, must be loaded with payment so users can physically tap the card upon entrance of the vehicle. By obtaining a GoPass, that student can save about $280 per semester.

Metro also offers the GoPass program to K-12 LAUSD students, and earlier this month the transportation company partnered with Glendale Community College.

The Welcome and Outreach centers set up a booth for students to obtain free TAP cards. By 11:30 a.m., the center handed out around 50 cards to students. Monarchs can receive a GoPass TAP card anytime throughout the semester, at the Business Office in the Student Union.

“Buses shouldn’t be a barrier, they should be a bridge,” said Garcetti. “And today America's largest county says that we will have the largest free transit pass in America and that is worth celebrating.”

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