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OCTA’s student bus pass program expands to Cypress College

The Orange County Transportation Authority is introducing more students to the convenience and affordability of public transit by expanding its student bus pass program to Cypress College – a shared-cost program that allows enrolled students to travel free on any OC Bus fixed route.

The program started with the spring semester at Cypress earlier this month. Full-time and part-time students have access to unlimited rides on all OC Bus local routes. Cypress students can now enjoy a free, comfortable ride while avoiding parking costs and hassles and contributing to a cleaner, healthier environment.

“This program achieves two important goals, helping students understand how convenient and beneficial public transit can be and, at the same time, it helps those students get to their classes and put them on a clearer path to achieving their dreams,” said OCTA Chairman Andrew Do. “It’s great to have Cypress College on board and to help offer a more accessible higher-education system.”

OCTA is expanding on the success of the program, which began at Santa Ana College in 2017. The program has helped increase ridership, introduced new riders to public transit and removes barriers to higher education for students, some who say they wouldn’t be able to attend college without it.

The college program allows full-time and part-time students enrolled at the colleges to download a pass via the OC Bus app, helping them to get to school, to work, or wherever the bus travels across Orange County. The OC Bus app passes renew each semester upon enrollment.

The Cypress College Student Bus Pass is a three-year pilot program. Funding for the first year is provided through a grant OCTA was awarded from state cap-and-trade funds, available through the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. For the second and third years of the program, the cost is covered by a small registration fee paid by all students.

Based on the student pass program’s initial success, beginning with a pilot project at Santa Ana College and the School of Continuing Education, OCTA looked at opportunities to expand the program to other Orange County campuses. In 2018, OCTA expanded the program to Santiago Canyon College in Orange, and then to Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Fullerton College, and Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.

A survey of students at Santa Ana College where the program began showed that, overall, 86 percent were satisfied with the college pass. Nearly 70 percent of those who rode the bus to school chose to also ride OC Bus to other destinations, and 96 percent said using the pass helps them achieve their educational goals.

Although bus ridership has fallen during the COVID-19 pandemic, OC Bus continues with a modified schedule – about 60 percent of normal service – to help riders reach essential jobs, appointments and other important destinations.

The college pass program was introduced as part of OCTA’s OC Bus 360° initiative, which is enhancing bus service in Orange County by maximizing existing resources and tailoring transit solutions to better meet the needs of the public.

For more information, visit www.ocbus.com/CommunityCollegePass.

This article was released by the Orange County Transportation Authority.