The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

New Public Transit Opportunities



Red tape delays eco pass

Last year the stand party called for the VTA to strike a deal with the De Anza district that would provide year long Eco Passes for each DA student. On top of that the VTA plans to create a new Bus Rapid Transit line that would make a trip from Eastridge mall, to alum rock transit center through down town and then down Stevens Creek, making limited stops on the way. This BRT line would cut the trip from 2 hours and 10 minutes to close to an hour flat. Funding for the passes would come from a mandatory 2-5 dollar fee added to each students enrollment costs, as for the BRT lines, the money will come from the 2008 electoral decision to pass prop 1B and measure A. However, negotiations sodden with bureaucracy have slowed progress to a trickle. 

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In the reality of the situation, the VTA promotes the eco pass as a means to take more cars off of the road and to lessen over crowding in parking lots on its website, but in past talks they have been reluctant to allow the eco pass due to pricing issues. Activist according to activist Marlo Custodio, it turns out that according to Letha Jean Pierre, VP of Finance and Educational Resources of De Anza College, that it would not be financially responsible to purchase Eco-Passes from the Valley Transportation Association since the majority students who currently utilize the public transit are: not full time nor even at a high amount that would be beneficial for the larger student body. The majority of students are commuters who come from all over the South Bay, some living outside of the county in which the VTA is only accessible to.

Keith Hubbard, VP of campus environment and sustainability reports, “De Anza students need to voice their opinion about the transportation fee. The only way DASB can fully know if a bus program is needed is if students get involved in the discussion.” He continues to explain “They [VTA] don’t feel students need it because De Anza is a commuter school and not enough people would use it. VTA wants only full-time students to use it and don’t want to waste their money on part-timers who might take an arts and crafts class at night and then leave. Basically, VTA does not think enough people would use the pass.”

Student interviews backed the claims of general apathy by Hubbard. Only one thousand out of nearly thirty thousand students take the bus to and from De Anza. To Jennifer lau, a 21 year old Nursing major the Eco pass would be a god send.  It’s a very attractive deal. It would be very economic for everyone who spends 70 dollars a month to take the bus. And more people would take the buss if they had year passes. Everyone in my family rides the bus so I spend about $200 a month, so paying anything less would save my family money.” Said Lau. But most opinions range along the lines of “For people coming from sj down town and south side San Jose, it really wouldn’t make much of a difference in commute time. Also how can we say we’re trying to save the air when we keep putting more busses on the road. In this economy we have enough to pay for like books and student fees, it would be unfair to those who already drive. I don’t think it would reduce the number of cars on the road because people are too comfortable in their personal cars. If I had a car I would be driving.” As said by Michelle Gibbs, an 18 year old massage therapy major. Some students, like 23 year old undecided major Rachel Sai, offered suggestions on how to move the negotiations with the VTA along. “It would be a better idea for students to apply for the eco passes rather than having one issued to everybody-“

No matter the opinion, the descicion for the eco pass hinges on the cooperation between the De Anza administration and the BRT line wont be put into effect until 2014. Unless students get involved in the issue Hubbard remarks that “Perhaps our grandkids will experience a valuable transportation to De Anza.”

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