Metropolitan Community College’s Pass to Class, a joint program between MCC and Metro transit to encourage student bus ridership, is celebrating a milestone 1 million bus rides taken by students since the program’s inception.
Started in 2009, Pass to Class offers MCC students free bus passes for travel to and from MCC locations and other education-related purposes along established Metro routes. MCC and Metro initiated the mutually beneficial program to increase students’ access to classes, decrease MCC’s parking congestion and increase Metro ridership.
The program also supports MCC’s sustainability goals by reducing single-occupancy vehicle trips and decreasing emissions into Omaha’s environment. By using the Pass to Class program instead of driving their personal vehicles, students have saved an estimated 600.9 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into Omaha’s atmosphere. In other terms, the students saved the equivalent (in carbon dioxide emissions) of the total yearly energy use for more than 30 average homes.
The first of its kind in Omaha, Pass to Class began as a pilot program. Student ridership quickly exceeded organizers’ expectations, with students typically taking more than 20,000 rides per month and accounting for about 7 percent of total Metro riders.
Daniel Lawse, Metro transit board member, lauded the program for meeting student and community needs.
“This program is an example of a willingness to respond to a community need, even when it means doing something different,” Lawse said. “After several conversations, both MCC and Metro were willing to put resources into piloting this program, which over the past 17 quarters has become a huge success. I'm pleased to see this program meet such a remarkable milestone at 1 million rides and counting.”