At the Omnitrans bus stop at Crafton Hills College, students are listening to music, reading and chatting in small groups under the shade trees. Many of them are freshman who are taking advantage of the GoSmart program for the first time. The discount fare program, which is funded by student fees, provides them with unlimited rides on any Omnitrans fixed route using their student ID.
Redlands resident Heather is just coming back to school after having taken a year off from classes. She has no idea what she wants to do yet, so she’s focusing on basic credits she needs and courses that interest her—like philosophy. Heather’s taking the bus because she doesn’t yet have her license.
“Both my parents work for the school district,” she explains. “So they can’t really give me a ride. GoSmart works great for me. One of the beauties of the bus is that you don’t have to look for campus parking. Plus I get exercise.”
Kat, a Zoology major, agrees. “I’m in the same situation. My dad lives in Calimesa and my mom lives with me in Redlands. I actually started riding the bus last year because my boyfriend lived in Mentone. It’s easy transport and convenient for me.”
Aaron lives in Mentone. He’s studying Kinesiology at Crafton. “I think the bus is actually helpful for a lot of students. My parents work, and this definitely makes it easier for me to get back and forth to school.”
For Business Administration major, Gerson, GoSmart is all about the savings. “I live in Highland, and it takes me about an hour and 20 minutes by bus to get to campus. I use the time to do homework. Gas is really expensive since I have a truck. I would rather spend a bit more time riding the bus than spend $10 in gas every day. That’s $50 a week I can put towards something else.”
Having the ability to access unlimited rides with just the swipe of a student ID isn’t merely a convenience. It also opens up educational opportunities for many students previously restricted by limited finances and lack of transportation. Together, the Omnitrans GoSmart program and Crafton Hills College are making it possible for students to achieve a quality education and pursue their career dreams.
– Juno Kughler Carlson
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