This August at school registration, all students at Castlemont and Fremont High Schools and Frick Impact Academy received Free and Unlimited Clipper Cards providing 24/7 AC Transit rides! This windfall for students is being provided by a new pilot program of the Alameda County Transportation Commission. See the list of eligible schools on the Alameda County Transportation Commission website.
Besides the huge advantage of a free, on-time ride on AC Transit to wherever the student wants to go, he or she will be helping to decrease greenhouse emissions and traffic congestion. In the Bay Area, about 40% of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are generated from moving sources — cars and light trucks being the primary ones. 10% of that 40% is due to vehicles taking students to school during the morning rush hour! Thus, the pilot program will benefit students, their families, the schools, and the environment.
Not only will GHGs be reduced when students take public transportation, recent upgrading of the AC Transit fleet to include more renewable fuel buses will also contribute to the Student Transit Pass Pilot Program’s reduction of GHGs. AC Transit now includes 600 zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses – the largest number of any fleet in North America with more on order – putting it in full compliance with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Fleet Rules for Urban Buses. Besides getting about 100,000 people out of their cars every day and thus reducing GHG emissions, AC Transit helps to reduce traffic congestion and parking demands.
Free transportation to school in California was a victim of Prop.13. If the AC Transit pilot program providing free student bus passes is successful, it could be expanded to include middle, as well as high school, students throughout Alameda County – a step in the right direction for all citizens!
– Excerpted from an article by Gayle Eads, Former Chair of San Francisco Bay Chapter, Sierra Club, and a Member of the Genesis Bus Pass Team