Community college students are already packing Omnitrans buses, tallying more than 100,000 boardings in the first month of a one-year pilot program that lets students ride free by swiping their college IDs on Omnitrans' buses. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 22, California State University San Bernardino students can climb aboard when their fall quarter begins. "The Omnitrans free ride pilot program supports our environmental goals," said CSUSB Commuter Services Supervisor Kathy Marron. "We encourage our students, especially those living on campus or nearby, to get onboard."
Since Aug.15, over 5,000 individual students attending Chaffey College, Crafton Hills College, and San Bernardino Valley College have racked up over 100,000 free rides. College trips contributed to Omnitrans' best August since 2004, at over 1.4 million total boardings.
Dubbed "Go Smart," the one-year pilot program is funded by participating colleges and the 16 governments that Omnitrans serves: Chino, Chino Hills, Colton, County of San Bernardino, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Highland, Loma Linda, Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, San Bernardino, Upland and Yucaipa. Cities and the county are utilizing monies they receive from the South Coast Air Quality Management District to use on projects that benefit air quality.
"We applaud our city and county leaders for investing in a program that saves students money and saves our environment," said Omnitrans director of marketing Wendy Williams. "Just one student riding one day on transit instead of driving eliminates 20 lbs. of carbon emissions."
To continue the program beyond the free pilot phase, Omnitrans will ask students to approve a transit fee through referendums on each campus next spring.
Students can use their student ID card to ride Omnitrans at anytime on any route, not just trips to and from campus. ID cards are swiped in the fare box on board buses which allows the agency to capture usage data by school, by route and even individual ID.
Normally college students would have to pay $1.50 per trip or $4.00 for a one-day pass to ride the bus; student 7-day passes are $11 and student 31-day passes are $35. All participating campuses are served by multiple Omnitrans bus routes.