Free SacRT Rides for Students

Antoinette Aho, Editor-in-Chief

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Beginning Oct. 1, 2019, Sacramento students will be able to ride on the Regional Transit system free of cost. This initiative was led by Yolo County, where the experimental program has already begun, under the name Yolobus.

SacRT hopes to eventually expand the program across the country by partnering with neighboring cities. According to the Sacramento Bee, “The city of Sacramento has agreed to compensate SacRT up to $1 million to subsidize the program for the first year.” 

The program can save parents upwards of 200 dollars annually by covering student’s transportation to school. The public transportation system may help boost attendance and rid students of transportation barriers. 

Rancho Cordova is connected to the SacRT system and many students at Cordova HS take the bus to school, as there is a convenient stop right in front of Mills Middle School, across from the CHS campus. The Free Lancer asked students what their thoughts are on public transportation, and if they’d use the free program.

Brandon Lopez (20), says he uses the system whenever he needs it. For instance, as an athlete he practices in North Highlands at times, the SacRT system provides him with a “fast and reliable” option. Lopez has nothing to complain about the current program but believes the new free student pass would allow him to use the system more freely and benefit a lot of students like himself. 

To get a different perspective on the system, The Free Lancer asked Amanda Turkie, CHS’s librarian, how she feels about public transportation and if she feels safe letting her own children use it. Turkie says, “Public transportation takes the burden off of transportation for families.” Whether transportation is a scheduling issue, one of money, or time, public transport, and a students ride free program allows for more opportunities, while providing a safe system. Both of Turkie’s children, a daughter and son of the high school age ride the SacRT to school. She finds it extremely helpful and has never felt it was not safe. 

Not only does the program aid students and their families financially, but public transport systems reduce air pollution and use fuel more efficiently. The APTA states that public transportation in the US is responsible for saving 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline each year. As for air pollution, buses emit 20% less carbon monoxide, 10% as much hydrocarbons, and 75% as much nitrogen oxides per passenger mile than an automobile with a single occupant.

Public transportation also increases the general mobility of communities by allowing those who can’t or don’t drive to engage in everyday life without the dependency of a relative driving them. The youth may utilize the system to get to school, work, or to go out with friends, but the system appeals to everyone and benefits the whole community.