GoPass addresses transportation equity and increases access to higher education
The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) this week launched the groundbreaking GoPass program for LACCD students, including those at West Los Angeles College in Culver City.
All LACCD students will be eligible to participate in the GoPass program. The GoPass allows students to take all buses and trains operated by Metro and participating transit agencies – completely free of charge – from December 1, 2021 until December 31, 2022.
LACCD Board Chairman Steve Veres, LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez, Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins and a group of LACCD students announced the new fare-free card at a metro line B station (red) near Los Angeles City College to officially launch the district’s GoPass program. The GoPass will allow students to seamlessly use Metro buses and trains, just in time for the start of winter and spring semester enrollment.
Only a quarter of students in the district said they used public transport regularly to attend classes before the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to cost concerns. GoPass removes one more barrier to accessing post-secondary education for low-income students.
“It’s fitting that equity in transit in Los Angeles County takes a big step here today,” said Steve Veres, chairman of the board of directors of LACCD. We have been advocating for this issue for over 4 years. This zero-fare transit system for all students, especially community college students, is transformational for over fifty percent of our students, who told us they have difficulty paying for transportation. in common. This effort will undoubtedly bring a better quality of life and peace of mind to many of our students, allowing them to focus on their academic success.
LACCD’s student body comes from predominantly under-represented communities. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of LACCD students come from low-income backgrounds and over fifty-one percent (51%) of LACCD students live below the poverty line. In a recent LACCD survey of students, fifty-five percent (55%) of respondents reported housing insecurity and sixty-three percent (63%) of students reported food insecurity. For these students, a no-fare transit pass could be life-changing and could mean the difference between them spending money on food, or spending it on transportation to get to school and graduate. .
Metro offers a lifeline to low-income and working-class Angelenos, with eighty-one percent (81%) reporting annual income below $ 40,000 in a 2019 survey. Making the system fairer through programs like GoPass directly benefit those who need it most.
This historic program is the result of strong and successful popular advocacy by LACCD students, the LACCD board of directors and a task force on the Fareless Transit initiative set up by Metro to reduce traffic. inequalities in transport. Students engaged in hard work
for forming a coalition to gain support, winning approval from the Metro Board of Directors and the Los Angeles County Board of Directors, who voted unanimously to approve the pilot permit program switch to LACCD student transport in September, kicking off the GoPass program today.
Since the majority of students visit their campus several times a week, using public transportation will ease traffic jams, reduce air emissions, and make college campuses more accessible to Los Angeles students.
“A recent study by the Hope Center found that students spend one-fifth of their total living expenses on transportation, and this is especially true for community college students who travel almost exclusively to campus,” said the Metro CEO, Stephanie N. Wiggins. “It’s clear that students with subsidized transportation do better in school, allowing them to focus on what really matters: their education. We created the GoPass program because we don’t want transportation to be one of the barriers students face in completing their college education.
LACCD is the first and so far the largest community college district to join Metro’s GoPass program, which will offer free fares to a growing number of LA County students, ”said“ We believe this This initiative is a key strategy to increase the use of public transport and improve the customer experience for our users: in particular young users, who can become Metro customers for life.
The GoPass program provides free transportation to elementary, middle and high school students, and today will be available to all students in the Los Angeles Community College district.
“For years, students have told us that transportation is a significant burden that impacts their ability to attend and access our colleges,” said LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D. “Today, we can be proud of the work we have done to bring this effort to the communities that will benefit the most. We commend our partners at LA Metro and the County Oversight Board for having the foresight to move forward with this initiative. Implementing a free transit service for LACCD students alleviates the financial burden and further increases access to education and opportunities for our most underserved students. I am committed to working alongside Metro to find the resources for the GoPass as our students need to go back to school for our economy to rebound and recover from the devastating impact of this global pandemic. ”
Thanks to Metro’s vision, forward-looking approach, and the dedicated work of advocates, including many LACCD students, the GoPass program was created with equity and the needs of students as a priority.
“It has been truly inspiring to be part of a student advocacy team that has succeeded in turning fare-free transit from an idea into a reality,” said Leonardo Gonzalez, former LACCD student. “Students across our district will now have reliable, fair and convenient transportation to class. This initiative will allow students to focus on their studies and work towards achieving their educational dreams.
Leonardo, a former LACCD student, rallied and organized the students to defend the priceless initiative. He is now a student at the University of California at Berkeley.