Free OC Bus Rides for Santa Ana College Students
Get Rolling with New Program
Three-year program OK’d by students encourages use of public transportation
ORANGE – Officials from the Orange County Transportation Authority and Santa Ana College gathered today with students and community members at the college to mark the launch of a new pilot program that allows nearly 42,000 students to ride any OC Bus for free.
The free bus rides are part of a three-year pilot program, the first of its kind in Orange County, initiated by OCTA in cooperation with Santa Ana College administrators and approved by a vote of students at the college.
The program is intended to encourage the use of public transportation through the OC Bus system and to take cars off of the road. OCTA is using a grant from the state’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program to offset the cost of the bus passes, part of the state’s cap-and-trade program implemented to help reduce greenhouse gases that pollute the environment.
“Yes, there is such a thing as a free ride and it’s now available to thousands of students to take them back and forth to school and anywhere else they want to travel in Orange County,” said OCTA Chair Michael Hennessey. “Our hope is that this kind of innovative program will help many more people discover the benefits of public transportation and make them want to ride the bus for years to come.”
Santa Ana College has a student population of nearly 27,000 students and is located near Bristol and 17th streets, in the area of some of the busiest bus routes in Orange County. Santa Ana has the fifth densest population of any city larger than 300,000 residents in the United States.
The program has also been extended to an additional 15,000 students who are enrolled through the college’s School of Continuing Education.
“This is a wonderful benefit for our students and a great way to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Dr. Linda Rose, president of Santa Ana College. “I’ve had numerous students share with me how easy it is to use their student ID card to ride the bus to Santa Ana College, work and throughout Orange County. Combined with our classes that use free and low-cost textbooks, and the many scholarships available throughout the year through our foundation, students can receive a world-class education at an affordable price.”
Under the terms of the pilot program, all Santa Ana College students get a pass – as part of their student identification cards – for free unlimited bus rides for the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters.
After that, all enrolling students at the college will pay a minimal fee per semester for the second and third years of the pilot program. Full-time students will pay $6.75 per semester and part-time students will pay $5.75 for an unlimited bus pass.
The typical cost to ride the OC Bus system is $2 per ride or $5 for a day pass. The typical cost of a full-semester student bus pass is $185.
The agreement with Santa Ana College was approved by more than 85 percent of students who voted on the proposal. It is part of OCTA’s OC Bus 360° program to enhance bus service in Orange County.