Cypress College students began their spring semester in February with a new benefit that will help them easily access all of Orange County thanks to the OCTA College Pass Program, a shared-cost program that allows enrolled students to travel free on any OC Bus fixed route.
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. It helps students understand how convenient and beneficial public transit can be and, at the same time, it helps those students get to their classes and puts them on a clearer path to achieving their dreams,” said OCTA Chair 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 helps increase ridership, introduces 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 Cypress College Student Bus Pass is a three-year pilot program. Funding for the first year is provided through a grant 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.
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