Thursday, May 22, 2008

Big Blue Bus Free



There has been rumors that the Big Blue Bus and Santa Monica College Board will be negotiating a contract to allow all Santa Monica College Students and staff to ride all the Big Blue Buses for FREE! Apparently, the details of the contract and the date it will be implemented are unclear. However, according to a SurfSantaMonica.com report, and some bus operators, it is due to start for the beginning of the Fall 2008 semester.

That program will save folks thousands of dollars in transportation costs. For folks who drive their cars to the campus, they may save several hundred dollars per semester in gas and maintenance costs, parking fees at the campus, and on the cost of bus fare. For those that already are taking the bus to campus, they could also save a few hundred dollars in bus fares. This will also allow students and staff to more liberally travel to campus, if they do not buy the monthly pass. And these folks may end up taking the bus for work, and recreation throughout the service area of the Big Blue Bus. And of course for those that like to bring thier bicycle with them to campus or the beach, they will continue to enjoy that opportunity.

I suppose the next move is to provide FREE bus fare to all Santa Monica High School Students and staff. Now that is a nice little fringe benefit! (smile)

What is unclear is if that free fare will extend to the number 10 line. That line requires a premium on top of the ordinary fare. Also, unclear if the program will also extend to MTA bus lines connected to the various SMC campuses.

If any of you know more info on this post in the comments, so we all may know. Thanks.

5 comments:

MarkP said...

well SMC students already ride
Santa Monica, Line 6, Line 11 and the Sunset ride ride those buses for free
and its suppose to happen in the fall

and techinally yes the students wont be paying a fare to the BBB yet they
will be paying a higher fees for
the SMC student assoication which
will ne entry paying the Big blue bus
for the students fare
and only students with current SMC ID will able to ride the Big Blue buses free
NO ID no free ride
this was discussed at the last BBB commuity meeting the BBB had
also remember that
other passengers also do get
free rides (ASI riders) well
tehcinally the BBB bills ASI for those
riders)

CSM! said...

markp, thanks for your comment.

Also, I believe that the cost of the free fare for SMC students/staff program will come from revenues generated from fees for parking on the SMC campuses. This includes existing fee levels and likely increases in parking fees coming sometime after Fall 2008. It may also be coming from staff employment budgets. It may also be in part subsidized by money for these kinds of programs through Caltrans and AQMD. I believe one or more of these programs already provides money to employees (as well as the City of Santa Monica) to those commuters who either take public transit, carpool, walk, and/or ride a bicycle to work. I believe the current subsidy is a monthly check (tax free i believe) of between $50-100. It may be that students, particularly students that work on campus, or perhaps else where could access this money. And with that monthly stipend, it seems that any increased cost would a small percentage of that, still leaving the employee/student with extra cash in their pocket.

It seems, also, that the Big Blue Bus company, with the likely increased ridership, and revenue, would expand service (frequency, capacity, and operational hours) of lines like the #8, #7, Super7, #3, #10, all of which are popular with those students/staff who curently use the Big Blue Bus to get to the SMC campuses.

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