Student government leaders recently met with Pierce Transit to discuss a possibility of a bus fare reduction for students.
“The reason why we (met with Pierce Transit) is because we had a lot of students coming to the front desk of Student Life asking if they could get their bus passes,” Austin Shaffer, ASPCP executive director of operations, said.
“We, the college, don’t have bus passes or any reduced fee that they can use instead of paying Pierce Transit like a normal person. But we want to do something about it.”
The current bus fares are $2 for adults and 75 cents for children.
“I think I’d be more willing to (ride the bus) with reduced rates. It’d be easier so I wouldn’t have to worry about getting change and getting to and from school,” Pierce College student Jaylene Hebert said. “The $2 rate is a little ridiculous. It’s so expensive.”
There are many options to consider in this process. The first option is for Pierce College to pay for part of the students’ bus passes, and then have the student themselves subsidize the college afterwards.
Another option would be for each student to have an account that is reloaded a certain number of times. The student would have a card they could check out from the office.
The option that the Office of Student Life will most likely put into place is an opportunity for students to simply receive a reduced rate on bus passes.
Before benefiting from the student life budget for these reduced prices on student bus passes, the Office of Student Life must first prove that there’s a need for improvement concerning bus fares.
Student government hopes that reduced rates on bus fees would persuade more students to ride the bus. With the limited number of parking spots on campus, finding a place to park can be a challenge and safety issue for students.
“Parking is a big problem, as everybody knows. It’s not necessarily our main motivation for doing this, but it’s really just a big push to get public transportation going,” Shaffer said. “(It’s) better for the environment, and it helps out Pierce Transit, too. It’s really just a big win for everybody.”
Pierce Transit has already implemented reduced bus fares at other local colleges. Student government has been given a number of plans to choose from, and is in the process of deciding which plan would work best for Pierce College.
Pierce Transit officials have survey sheets they previously used to study how best to handle each college.
“We asked them for some of those sample surveys so that we can develop our own for Pierce College,” Shaffer said. “We can get a better idea then for what option really would be best for students.”
Student government hopes to reach a conclusion and implement a plan for the college by the end of the 2013-2014 school year, or the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year.
“Our goal is by the end of the year,” Shaffer said. “It might not even be that though. My guess is that the actual implementation will happen next year after everything is worked out. There’s lots more to come.”
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