Pierce exploring community college bus program

March 1, 2018

Clover Park Technical, Tacoma Community have already created a partnership with Pierce Transit

Mention the word “parking” on campus is a good way to get students talking. Unfortunately, none of it is really good.  Pierce College Fort Steilacoom has an overcrowded parking lot and there are ways to reduce it.  This means at any given time there are many students who have out-of-pocket costs related to transportation; sometimes those costs can be a barrier.

Two other local schools are trying to change that.

Pierce Transit and Clover Park Technical have partnered to create Community and Technical College Student Bus Pass Program. The program, currently in the pilot stage, is showing early success results, according to Alison Pau, the Student Engagement Manager at Clover Park Technical College.

The overall goal of the bus pass program is to raise ridership, support economic development via to post-high school education, and assist low income and minority populations reaching continuing opportunities, according to the Community & Technical College Student Bus Pass Program fact sheet from Pierce Transit. When registering at Clover Park Technical College, students can choose to opt in or out of the bus pass.

When routes were going to change in front of Clover Park Technical, its Associated Student Government got involved with Pierce Transit to come up with a new program for students. The plan is to eventually switch to ORCA cards for students. Since its start, the school has seen an increase of students choosing to participate, according to Sharon Stockwell, the senior employer services coordinator at Pierce Transit.

Tacoma Community College has begun its pilot program using the ORCA card. It is seeing the same result as Clover Par – an increase of students. The reason is simple, the ORCA card is the easiest way for Pierce Transit to conduct student surveys and collect data.

This bus pass program can be used by the students anywhere in Pierce County, besides going to school. Since the need and want for a program exists locally, other technical and community schools have current active templates to observe and do research.

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup campuses are looking at these programs and reviewing information from the current schools that are active in the program. Student government missed the budget deadline for getting this proposal on budget proposal for this year, but is planning on getting it in the upcoming budget for next year.

Elijah Ellis, ASPCFS president at Pierce Fort Steilacoom, said, “The program is going to benefit the students who ride the bus regularly and save a little of their income. And it will benefit students who have issues finding parking daily.”

Currently, there is not enough information being generated for students at Pierce College to show an interest in the program. When asked about the program, a number of the students said they had heard of it, but could not offer further discussion.


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