A.S. adds more funds to transit subsidy program

A.S. has increased the allotment for the student transit subsidy for this school year.

Because of the overwhelming number of students using the subsidy last year, A.S. added $20,000 more to the $50,000 in monthly transit subsidies.

“Last year it was an amazing hit and we ran out of funding,” said Kevin Mojaradi, marketing director for A.S. “We had over 2,500 students participate.”

The regular price for a monthly Metro pass went up from $62 to $75 in July.  Some students are already taking advantage of the program and are saving $20 on bus passes.

“We encourage students to apply for a student bus pass, and the cost becomes $36,” said Hannah Rodriguez, 21, employee at the A.S. ticket office. “Then we can take an additional $20 off and it becomes $16 for a monthly metro pass that takes you around the entire L.A. area.”

In order to acquire the subsidy, students must go the ticket office, show their student ID, and initial a page stating they have received their subsidy for the month.

The bus pass is immediately loaded to their TAP card. Students can also request a student application for the College/Vocational discount provided by Metro at the ticket office.

“It’s all in one place, we’re not going to make you take a coupon anywhere,” said Ken Premo, support service manager. “We try to make it really easy and well accepted by the students.”

Premo said it was so well received last year they have decided not to spend any funds on advertising, reserving them solely for the Metro subsidy.

For this school year, 1,157 monthly Metro subsidies have been given. The participation is less than half from last year.

With a month left in the fall semester and the entire spring semester ahead, Premo said the transit subsidy program has the financial potential to help CSUN be more eco-friendly in addition to helping students deal effectively with mounting transportation costs.

“Most of the students are astonished when they realize they can get it,” Premo said.

Many students are not aware of all the programs provided by A.S., or that A.S. funding comes from the non-optional A.S. fees attached to student tuition each semester.

“A.S. is a student government on campus that has programs that wouldn’t ordinarily be funded by traditional methods,” Premo said. “Things like the Recreation Center, the children center, the recycling program, all the things that make life on campus outside the classroom.”

Nuntanit Songpry, supervisor at the A.S. Ticket Office, said most of the students that come in to purchase the pass are regulars and usually freshmen or sophomores.

“Most of the time everything is running smoothly,” Songpry said. “Less than five percent of students don’t carry ID, so we advise them to go to Bayramian Hall because the ID only costs $5.”

The only time there is no subsidy is during the breaks, because the program does not receive student fees when school is not in session.

“I’m hoping it’s going to become a regular annual program,” Premo said. “We have requested funding for next year. This year we have $70,000 and we’ve requested another $70,000 for next year, with the caveat that we can always increase our request and hope that we will have to.”