Rock the Vote 2018: PPCC & Mountain Metro Connect Students to their Futures

By Dejanique Calloway

Pikes Peak Community College students will vote April 10 and 11 on a $10 student activity fee to finance a new bus program in partnership with Mountain Metropolitan Transit, that will include passage to the Rampart Range Campus.

“Based on how many students bought a bus pass from the book store and rode the bus during ride free week, I estimate that about 900 students will benefit from the bus services,” said Konrad Schlarbaum, PPCC’s Sustainability Director, who has been working for this to happen for a while.

The fee will include a bus pass that will provide students enrolled onsite at any of the campuses and satellite locations access to unlimited bus rides on all existing routes for school and personal use.

“This is such a great solution for students. For $10 they can now get unlimited access to all metro routes every day of the week for whatever they need,” said student Trey O’Brien.

The fee will also help finance the new bus route, #40, to the Rampart Range Campus beginning August 2018.

Pikes Peak Community College serves about 18,000 students, and according to Schlarbaum, the proposed fee comes as a response to demand that the school service its diverse population at all PPCC campuses.

When the Rampart Range Campus joined the Pikes Peak Community in 1998, bus services transported students up north until 2003.

The need to reintroduce the services comes as the college grows and students’ needs shift.

“Downtown students are really in favor of the bus services because they are the ones who mostly use the bus,” said Student Government President, Adonis Jaramillo. “Also we found out that the Centennial Bus Stop is the second busiest bus stop in Colorado Springs”.

The new route will offer riders two options to the Rampart Campus from the Voyager Transfer Station.

One route includes a short deviation to the Briargate Shopping Center, where students can grab a bite to eat at one of the various restaurants.

The other option includes a more direct route.

Without the bus services connecting to the Rampart Campus students who rely on public transportation currently walk from the Voyager Transfer Station to attend the distant campus, which could be an exhausting walk and pose a safety threat.

Also, without reliable means of transportation many students are forced to interrupt their studies and thus compromise their futures.

The college hopes that the pass and new route will give access to various programs and classes that are only offered at the northern campus, like many of the Nursing courses.

This proposed fee not only connects students to the Rampart Campus, but it alleviates financial burdens of paying for transportation.

The new pilot bus service will cost $157,000 annually, which will be funded by the new fee in addition to a few grants from some local hospitals, who are currently looking to start bus services at their facilities.

“It [the bus program] ties into sustainability,” said Schlarbaum. “We want to encourage students to use public transit and spend less money by using these services.”

Pending approval, the route will run a two year pilot that Mountain Metro Transit will monitor until July 2020.

If successful PPCC and Mountain Metro will continue the route and also reduce the fee to $5.

Learn more about the proposed fee and services at ppcc.edu/get-on-board.

Students can cast their vote for the proposed fee April 10 and April 11 on D2L.

 

Contact Deja Calloway at paper@ppcc.edu

 

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