Burdening students with the cost of transportation for other students is a burden we do not need.
By Solomon Smith, Managing Editor
Every Monday I drive to Valley College in the morning for class and then immediately go to Pierce College for another class. Afterwards I drive to Sylmar to pick up my wife. I pay for lunch when I can, coffee when I have to, and gas because I have to. It is not cheap. Now a new rule might require me to pay for someone else’s bus pass to Valley College. Thanks, but no thanks.
Supporting one another as students is important and helping a struggling student is the right thing to do, but there is a limit to how much we can each personally bear. The LA Metro currently offers a student discount for bus passes for college and vocational students. The application process is as simple as filling out a form online. Valley’s proposal to offset the price of bus fare onto those of us who do not need it is unnecessarily burdensome.
Many students pay their own way and it seems unfair to charge those students, already encumbered with their own transportation, for the cost of someone else’s bus ride. A program like this stuffed into student fees is also worrisome because it sets a disturbing trend; offloading the cost of some else’s idea onto the student body. If this is something that is truly needed for student equity there are several programs available already to assist.
This is the type of program that should be handled by the school itself and not dumped onto the students. A slippery slope quickly headed downhill is the only thing that this program can be certain to start. Today we pay for other people’s bus fare, maybe tomorrow it is other people’s meals will be added onto your school fees, maybe someone else’s books, parking, class materials, or whatever other costs the school does not want to cover. It is the beginning of a bad precedent.
If we want to help the students on campus get to class there are other options. Austin Community College offers a carpool program encouraging students to give one another a ride to class. The program aims to lower the school’s carbon footprint, reduce the cost of gas for students and help with parking congestion. It even gives preferred parking to students who participate. Thinking outside of the box should be the first stop for solving issues not taking money out of the pockets of students.
The transportation referendum is still in the process of being approved but one school has decided against it — Pierce College. They are on the right track and Valley should opt out as well.
Transportation is a serious problem for many students, but this proposal is not the way to solve it.