On June 30, North County Transit District (NCTD) will complete a reduced fare program for students geared towards lowering carbon emissions in northern San Diego County. The program resulted in over 21,500 discounted NCTD passes being purchased by students at multiple schools in North County.
Funds for this program were made possible by the California Low Carbon Transit Operations Program (LCTOP). The program lowered the regularly priced $59 SPRINTER/BREEZE monthly pass by $25 per student; the final price of the pass varied based on additional discounts, including subsidies from some schools. The fare subsidy from LCTOP helped maintain SPRINTER ridership, as ridership was declining for BREEZE operations.
“Getting students out of cars and onto transit is not just a benefit to our congested roads here in North County, but also a contribution to having cleaner air in this beautiful region,” said Matthew Tucker, NCTD’s executive director.
The purpose of the LCTOP is to lower carbon emissions in the state through various programs; it is funded from state carbon credit sales in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. LCTOP allows agencies to rollover the funds they receive for up to three years. To help the region meet emission reduction goals, NCTD began saving LCTOP funds in 2017 — estimated at over $1.5 million each year — for the purchase of five electric buses.
NCTD’s BREEZE bus fleet consists of 163 buses. Currently, more than 80% of the fleet are compressed natural gas (CNG) buses. While CNG buses provide lower emissions than diesel, or standard gasoline buses, electric buses are even cleaner as they have zero emissions.
“Electric buses will be a great addition to NCTD’s current fleet,” Tucker continued. “The eventual transition to an all-electric fleet is our goal and this is a great step in the right direction.”
Participants in the reduced fare program for students included: California State University, San Marcos; Mira Costa College; Palomar College; and Vista Adult School.