Pierce Transit introduces new student bus pass program, partners first with Clover Park Technical College

Pierce Transit and Clover Park Technical College are teaming up on a new program that will put a bus pass in the hands of every student enrolled at the college. Pierce Transit is piloting the Community & Technical College Student Bus Pass Program to help students access transportation to and from class, introduce students to transit, and reduce parking demand at local community and technical colleges. The agency is beginning the program at Clover Park Technical College and expects to expand it to other local community and technical colleges later in 2017. Pierce Transit’s Board of Commissioners approved the pilot program, which will run through June 2018, at its April 10 meeting.

Pierce Transit, Clover Park Technical College and the college’s Associated Student Government organization, which helped engineer the agreement on behalf of the college, will kick off the program at an April 12 noontime ceremony and celebration. The event will feature Clover Park Technical College President Dr. Joyce Loveday, Pierce Transit CEO Sue Dreier and Annie Mafi, president of the college’s Associated Student Government. The ceremony will take place at Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd. SW in Lakewood, in front of Building 23 next to the parked Pierce Transit bus (if weather does not permit an outdoor event it will be held inside Building 23).

“The Associated Student Government is pleased with the partnership between Pierce Transit and CPTC,” said Clover Park Technical College Associated Student Government President Annie Mafi. “We would like to thank Pierce Transit for recognizing our commitment to student success and alleviating barriers to students. Transportation has been an ongoing barrier for students, and we are looking forward to seeing positive results with this new program.”

Under the Pierce Transit Community & Technical College Student Bus Pass Program, Clover Park Technical College will make a bus pass available to every eligible student. Students will have a special sticker affixed to their Student Identification Card, which will serve as their bus pass. It is expected the program will be especially helpful for low-income and minority students to access continuing education opportunities. An analysis of Education Longitudinal Student data showed that 44 percent of low-income students (family incomes of less than $25,000 per year) that attend college after high school start at community colleges. The same analysis found that 50 percent of Hispanic students start at a community college, along with 31 percent of African-American students, compared to 28 percent of Caucasian students starting there.

“We are pleased to partner with Clover Park Technical College on this program that will give each of their students access to much-needed transportation,” said Pierce Transit CEO Sue Dreier. “Sometimes having a bus pass can make the difference between being able to attend college and simply not being able to get there. This program removes that barrier, and provides a good model for Pierce Transit to work with other colleges and technical schools going forward.”

To participate in the program, colleges will pay Pierce Transit a flat annual or quarterly fee to make a bus pass available to all eligible students. Prices are dependent on the number of full-time equivalent students at the school. To be eligible, the community or technical college must be located next to existing Pierce Transit fixed-route bus services; help Pierce Transit tell students about the program and conduct periodic student surveys to gauge transit ridership; and be a member of the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

Pierce Transit will monitor transit use through a review of bus stop boardings adjacent to participating colleges and student survey data. Following the pilot Pierce Transit will make a determination about the program’s continuation depending on interest and use.

- Pierce Transit

Credit: Pierce Transit

Credit: Pierce Transit