“GoPass” partnership between LACCD and LA Metro board grants students free rides

The district announces a new fareless public transportation system for students across all nine campuses of the LACCD.

By Marcos Franco, Managing Editor

People exit and board a bus at the Valley College Metro Orange Line station in Los Angeles, Calif. on Wednesday, October 6, 2021. (Jeremy Ruiz/The Valley Star)

The LACCD and LA Metro Transportation Authority launched “GoPass” this week, a new alliance that will grant the more than 230,000 students in California’s largest community college system free access to bus and train rides.

The fareless transit GoPass will allow costless rides through Dec. 31, 2022. Students can pick up their passes from the business office within the Student Union building towards the north end of campus. LACCD Board President Steve Veres praised the partnership that the district had been chasing for years.

“It is fitting that transit equity in LA County takes a big step here today,” said Veres in a statement. “We have been advocating in support of this issue for over 4 years. This fareless transit system for all students, particularly for community college students, is transformational for over fifty percent of our students, who’ve told us they have difficulty paying for public transport. This effort will undoubtedly bring improved quality of life and peace of mind to many of our students, allowing them to focus on their academic success.”

While students within both the LACCD and LAUSD will be covered by their school district, other Angelenos who rely on the amenity of costless public transit will begin the new year by dipping into their pockets.

Last month, the LA Metro announced plans to resume fare collection after offering free services for the last 16 months. Starting Jan. 10, 2022, fees will return at a 50 percent discounted pre-pandemic price, going from previous costs of $7 for a day pass to $3.50. Weekly vouchers will also be marked down to $12.50 as well as $50 for the month. The rebate will last for six months before returning to the full rate.

In addition to discounted fares, LA Metro unveiled a new transportation assistance program for low-income riders. The Low-Income Fare is Easy program offers further discounts for applicants earning less than $41,400 for a one-person household, and $59,100 for a family of four. Eligibility varies on household size as well as income which is broken down on the online application. Qualified applicants will also receive 90 days of free rides starting on Jan. 10 if selected.

For students at Valley College, the partnership comes just in time for the spring semester and four-week winter courses. District Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez is confident that the new move will relieve a mental load for students who rely on public transit.

“For years, students have told us that transportation is a significant burden impacting their ability to attend and access our colleges,” said Rodriguez in a statement. “Today we can feel proud of the work we’ve done to bring this effort to communities who stand to benefit the most.”

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