Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Omni gets on the U-Pass bus

Omni's new Go Smart! program, similar to RTA's U-Pass program, allows students from most public colleges and universities in the service area to ride free during the school year. Crafton Hills, San Bernardino Valley and Chaffey Community College students, as well as students at Cal State San Bernardino, can ride free on any Omntirans bus simply by swiping their student ID cards. This program is in a trial phase this year, so if you're a student at any of thee above colleges you should ride as much as possible in order to show your support.

Sadly, the program only works during the school year. RTA's program is year-round, allowing those of us who don't go "home" for the summer to continue to enjoy public transit. (My home is the one I've made here, not the house I grew up in, no matter how many students may disagree with me.) Hopefully, if the program is a success, it will be expanded to year-round.

Interestingly, unlike RTA's program- which is funded by the colleges and universities themselves (and, in the case of RCC, by a direct fee levy on the students)- Omni's program is funded by the city governments who lie within the service area. In a time of increasingly scarce educational budgets, could this be an improved model for getting students to class?

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