Donald Shoup and other researchers at UCLA have investigated the performance of universal student transit pass programs (all rides are free!) at 35 universities and the research is a powerful testament to the benefits of free transit: increases in student transit ridership of 71% to 200%; a reduction in parking demand of 400 to 1,000 spaces (leaving more land and construction money for buildings with educational purposes); a $2,000/year reduction in the cost of a college education; and approval rates of 54% to 94% in student referenda about using student fees to pay for these programs at an average cost of about $30 per student per year! Metro will decide whether to study the feasibility of such a program at the board meeting Thursday!Read more
Here's a study and 2 journal articles on persuasive student transit pass research at 35 colleges, by Donald Shoup and others at UCLA. Professor Shoup sums it up by writing: “To learn how Unlimited Access works we surveyed 35 universities that offered it during the 1997-98 school year. We found the average cost was $30 per student per year . . . [and] that student transit ridership increased between 71%-200% at different universities. At one school the number of vehicle trips to campus decreased by 26%. The reduction in vehicle trips reduced parking demand by 400-1,000 spaces. Because Unlimited Access allows students to get around without a car, the university financial aid budgets suggest it can reduce the cost of attending college by up to $2,000 a year.” Here's the 2001 study of 35 schools, a 2003 journal article on UCLA's BruinGo transit pass program, and a sum-up of the big study in the University of California journal Access.
LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, chair of LA Metro's Board, plans to introduce a motion at the Thursday board meeting to study the feasibililty of implementing a universal student transit pass program in LA County. Metro is looking at a number of strategies to increase transit ridership, especially with a new and maybe life-long group of riders. Metro does currently have a discounted student transit pass program. But best practices show the most successful programs allow students to sign up for deeply discounted passes during the registration process. Metro requires students to come to Metro and pay up front.Read more
Move LA is searching for funding for a universal student transit pass pilot program in LA County. Now is the perfect time: The pot of Cap & Trade dollars (the GHG Reduction Fund or GGRF) is filling up with money as new businesses come under the cap and need to buy emission allowances, and the state Legislature and recipients of GGRF money haven't figured out how to spend all that money yet. LA Metro, for example, must soon propose to Caltrans how it will use its share of Low Carbon Transit Operations Program funding. We suggest it could be a universal student transit pass program. Or at least a pilot project to start.Read more
Further deliberations in the California Legislature on how to spend the 40% of as-yet-unallocated GHG Reduction Fund money have been pushed off until the start of the second year of this legislative session, beginning January 2016. The upside is we have a few more months to prepare a bigger statewide push for student transit passes! But in the meantime, we hope to gear up a local campaign to convince LA Metro to set aside $5 million of the agency's Low Carbon Transit Operations Program funding for a universal student transit pass pilot in LA County.Read more
From Move LA Partner Jonathan Parfrey on his Climate Resolve blog: There’s big news out of Sacramento this week: the California Assembly failed to fully approve two key climate laws. I say: buck up. Let’s focus on this: We won some incredibly important climate bills this session. The state is now dedicated to supplying a full half of its electricity from renewable power by 2030 — an amazing accomplishment. California continues to be a climate leader. We also passed three huge climate adaptation bills that will help us better plan and invest so we are prepared for the impacts of climate change. Preparing for the inevitable effects of climate change is necessary. We’ve already had success in our adaptation efforts; winning cool roof legislation in Los Angeles means we've begun cooling our city today and for years to come. Read more on Climate Resolve's blog.
Lots has happened since Move LA worked with the Shared Use Mobility Center (SUMC), NRDC, the TransitCenter and other partners on the Live Ride Share conference earlier this year — so much that the national nonprofit SUMC is staging another conference in their hometown of Chicago. Technology keeps pushing shared use forward and now there’s a plethora of apps to integrate ridesharing, bikesharing and carsharing with transit, and some 200 start-ups providing bus and shuttle services that fall somewhere in between public transit and the private car. There's increased interest in linking transit and shared use because it's clear they need each other. Have you read Nate Silver’s recent blog post “Public Transit Should Be Uber’s Best Friend”? If not, you should read it now!Read more
As the the cost of education has gone up and the economic fortunes of families have gone down, providing students with universal student transit passes — like Santa Monica College’s “Any Line Any Time” program — seems like a better and better idea. A UCLA study shows these passes can increase student ridership by 70% to 200% and reduce driving by a similar measure. There are empty seats on transit that students could fill. GHG emissions would go down. We could develop life-long transit riders. And the Legislature is deciding what to spend GHG Reduction Fund money on. We are asking the Legislature to set aside $25 million of the GGRF for student passes — which are an eligible expense. 15 LA County community colleges and 20 nonprofit groups have joined us in this “ask” of the Legislature. Read the letter here.