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Daily parking pass fee increase at COC to help fund free bus program

Posted: July 18, 2009 1:44 p.m.
Updated: July 18, 2009 1:44 p.m.
College of the Canyons will raise the cost of one-day parking passes from $1 to $2, effective Aug. 3, to help fund the college's new free bus program for students, which will launch in the fall.

"In an arrangement that has been reached with the City of Santa Clarita, College of the Canyons students will be able to ride any city bus-anywhere, anytime-for the first three weeks of the Fall 2009 semester, free of charge," said Michael Wilding, vice president of student services.

The intent of this program is to demonstrate to students that public transit is a convenient and workable option to get to and from the college's campuses in Canyon Country and Valencia.

"The city is thrilled to partner with College of the Canyons and assist in providing students with reliable and affordable transportation," Santa Clarita Mayor Frank Ferry said. "With the implementation of our new TAP payment method, which streamlines payment options for riders, there's never been a better time for students to utilize City of Santa Clarita Transit."

As the state and local economies have experienced a downturn, more and more students of all ages have turned to the college for classes and training that will help them achieve their personal goals.

With this increase -- spring semester saw an increase of 13 percent and this summer the college has grown 6 percent over last year -- parking during the first three weeks of a semester, while available, isn't always as convenient as students would like.

"We know that once students try public transit, they may very well decide to include it as one of their transportation options for the rest of the semester," Wilding said.

"The college is always trying to find creative new ways to assist our students during these tough economic times," he said, "and this arrangement helps the students by removing parking hassles and reducing commuting costs. It enhances the role of public transit in our valley and it helps the environment by reducing the number of daily automobile trips locally."

The college has not increased its daily parking rate for decades, Wilding explained, noting that many colleges charge up to $7 a day for daily parking.

"To continue the program, and to expand it to include the entire semester we needed to find additional funding," Wilding said. "This nominal fee increase is a relatively painless way to help cover these costs."

The college plans on installing more daily parking meters in Lot 8 (by the stadium) and by the new University Center, which is set to open in the fall.


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