We believe that in order to meet California's climate goals we must build transit ridership, and that a discounted student transit pass program for all public college and university students statewide is key to growing ridership: These are student riders are especially important because they may start making decisions about where to live and work based on whether there's transit nearby—they may even develop a life-long transit habit—and this is a program that would also reduce the cost of getting an education for both student riders and for schools.
Renown UCLA Professor Donald Shoup and other UCLA researchers published a landmark study of 35 universal student transit pass programs around the US in 2001 finding, among other things, that these programs increased transit ridership from 71% to 200%, and reduced the cost of going to school by $2,000/year since students didn’t have to own a car (these costs are probably much higher now).
Professor Shoup has supported our efforts to get the California Legislature to create a statewide transit pass program, pointing out in one letter that "UCLA established a university transit pass program, BruinGO, in Fall 2000. Bus ridership for commuting to campus in increased by 56% during BruinGO’s first year, and solo driving fell by 20%.
"Three years of commuting data showed the surprisingly high cost-effectiveness of BruinGO. During its first year, BruinGO cost only $810,000, and the drive-alone share for commuting to campus declined by 4.1%. Three years after BruinGO began, UCLA opened a new $47 million parking structure, and the drive-alone share increased by 4 percentage points. Offering fare-free public transit to reduce parking demand was far cheaper than spending $47 million to add 1,500 new parking spaces. (Italics are Move LA's.)
We believe that our new governor will support a statewide student transit pass program unlike his predecessor, who had other priorities. We will keep you updated on our progress! Read more about our student transit pass strategy HERE.