October 12, 2009

Texas college to pilot free bus pass program

The Austin (Texas) Community College (ACC) District Board of Trustees voted to approve a pilot program that will provide free Capital Metro bus passes to ACC students, faculty, and staff (pending approval by Capital Metro’s Board of Directors). The initiative, called “Green Pass,” is intended to help students get to class, ease parking congestion, and reduce ACC’s carbon footprint while gathering important ridership data.

In an agreement reached with Capital Metro, the college will be charged a discount rate per ride. The goal of the pilot program is to collect ridership data, gauge interest in free use of mass transit and assess the need for new routes.

“This is just one example of our commitment to minimizing ACC’s impact on the environment,” says Andy Kim, the college’s director of environmental stewardship.

ACC will launch the Green Pass effort for the spring 2010 semester. Beginning in January, the college will issue Capital Metro passes to students, faculty, and staff, who can use bus service (and rail service, when it comes online) at no cost to them.

“This new ridership program will benefit not only the students, but the environment as well, and ACC students are always trying to find new and innovative ways to improve life using green practices,” says Joshua Bacak, president of the college’s Student Government Association.

The initial cost of the program will be $250,000, covered by funds from the parking fee increase that went into effect this fall.

Visit austincc.edu/sustainability for more information on Green Pass and other ACC sustainability initiatives.

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