AB 17 would create a state-level program to provide funds for reduced-fare or free transit passes for California's public student body. Student transit pass programs have been shown to significantly increase student transit ridership, reduce the cost of education, and cut climate pollution.
Several California colleges have already implemented student pass pograms with dramatic results. At Pasadena City College, student transit ridership increased from 11% to 47% after the introduction of a student pass program. At UC Davis, student transit ridership increased by 79%. Students and their families can save thousands of dollars annually thanks to these programs, and school communities benefit too, with fewer cars on the road and less pollution.
This bill currently appropriates no money; rather, it creates a program that will provide funds, should the Legislature allocate them. However, having the program established in law would help make it easier to secure funds in future budget years. This bill is part of the Transportation Equity Package we are sponsoring along with many partner organizations.
Though vetoed by the Governor, his veto statement on AB 17 offers us a positive outlook for next year.