Calif. college transit program wins top award

Posted on March 23, 2009

A program that allows full-time students to use five local transit systems for just $3 per semester has earned national recognition for Rio Hondo College in Whittier, Calif.

The program, called Go Rio, allows students carrying 12 or more semester units to buy a $3 pass that gives them free access to buses operated by Los Angeles Metro, Foothill Transit, Norwalk Transit, Montebello Bus Lines and Sunshine Shuttle.

Go Rio, which was launched as a two-year pilot program in 2006, garnered first place in the Planning, Governance and Finance category of the 2009 National Bellwether Award, sponsored by the Community College Futures Assembly, a national independent policy think tank.

“I was pleasantly surprised,” said Russell Castaneda-Calleros, Rio Hondo’s director of governmental and community relations. “We were up against some innovative programs from around the country.”

Castaneda-Calleros said the Go Rio program has become increasingly popular among students. During the 2006-07 school year, an average of 900 students bought the semester pass. This year, that number has increased to 1,450, a 61 percent hike.

Go Rio’s success has spawned similar programs at two other California colleges — Riverside City College in Riverside and the Peralta Colleges in Oakland and Berkeley. “It was impressive to the judges that our success has been replicated by other schools,” Castaneda-Calleros said, adding that he provided guidance to representatives at each of the colleges in how to get the program off the ground.

The cost of operating the program is approximately $70,000 per semester, based on fees assessed by the participating transit systems. Castaneda-Calleros said the transit agencies calculate their fees using ridership and full-time student enrollment, but have been flexible on the bottom line. “They’ve worked hard to give us a discount,” he said.

Castaneda-Calleros said the revenue generated by sales of the $3 pass covers about half of the program’s total cost. The remaining cost is covered by the college and by grants from local, state and federal sources.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District contributes funding based on the number of pounds of auto emissions that the Go Rio program eliminates. “Each year we find out how many students leave their cars at home by using the Go Rio pass,” Castaneda-Calleros said. Using a complex formula, he’s then able to quantify the amount of reduced emissions. “This year, we’re hoping that it will be more than 2 tons.”


View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

NTSB determines cause of Oklahoma State U. homecoming crash

The driver, Adacia Avery Chambers, is accused by prosecutors of driving her car with a depraved mind through police barricades and into a crowd killing four and injuring dozens more.

U. of Wyoming enhances service with new buses, app feature

The new buses are 2017 model Gillig low-floor buses, 37 feet long, and with capacity for 32 seated passengers and many more standing.

UCLA adds 2 BYD electric buses, boasts all clean fuel fleet

The move is also in step with the University of California’s systemwide goal of carbon neutrality by 2025. UCLA has already met its 2020 goal of using less energy per square foot of buildings than in 1990.

FDOT, Fla. Poly partner to develop transportation tech facility

SunTrax includes a 2.25-mile oval track on a 400-acre site in Polk County, centrally located between Tampa and Orlando. 

First Transit readies for 'back-to-school' season with 'Tiger' systems

The service provider operates bus systems for Louisiana State University and Princeton University.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close