The Orange County Transportation Authority is introducing more students to the convenience and affordability of public transit by expanding its student bus pass program to Irvine Valley College – a shared-cost program that allows enrolled students to travel free on any OC Bus.

The program began Monday, Aug. 23 at the start of the Irvine Valley College fall semester, allowing full-time and part-time students access to unlimited rides on all OC Bus local routes. Students can now enjoy a free, comfortable ride while avoiding parking costs and hassles and doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The student bus pass program helps students achieve their goals by offering more convenient access to higher education,” said OCTA Chairman Andrew Do, also the county’s First District Supervisor. “It’s great to have Irvine Valley College on board with OCTA to assist students with getting to school, to work and other destinations around Orange County, while also contributing to a cleaner, healthier environment by sharing the ride.”

OCTA is expanding on the success of the program, which began at Santa Ana College in fall 2017. The program has helped increase ridership, introduced new riders to public transit and remove barriers to higher education for students, some who say they wouldn’t be able to attend college without it.

The college program allows full-time and part-time students enrolled at the colleges to use the pass via the mobile OC Bus app, helping them to get to school, to work, or wherever the bus travels across Orange County.

“This program expands our college community,” said Deangelo Hunter, president of the Associated Students of Irvine Valley College. “It creates a further opportunity to attend our great college and closes an equity gap, opening pathways to new opportunities to increase success for 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 for opportunities to expand the program to other Orange County campuses. OCTA expanded the program to Santiago Canyon College in Orange, and then to Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Fullerton College, Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, and Cypress College.

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.

Although bus ridership fell sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic, OC Bus continues to provide a high level of service and ridership has begun to increase again, helping riders reach essential jobs, appointments and other important destinations.

The college pass program was introduced as part of OCTA’s OC Bus 360° initiative, which is enhancing bus service in Orange County by maximizing existing resources and tailoring transit solutions to better meet the needs of the public.

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