Some Del Mar College students are taking full advantage of their free bus rides, which may be a new experience for many.
I have ridden the bus in Washington, D.C.; England; and Luxembourg, Germany and riding the bus in Corpus Christi is totally different.
On the upper East Coast and in Europe everyone rides the bus. Business professionals wearing several-thousand-dollar suits can be seen riding the bus. You could be sitting next to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and wouldn’t even know. It’s just the culture of those places where people use public transportation.
In Corpus Christi riding the bus is often seen as a negative and looked down upon. Many people who ride the bus here either don’t have a car or are homeless.
While I lived in San Antonio all my friends wanted to come see the so-called Sparkling City by the Bay, but while riding the bus around Corpus Christi you get to see the real city. While some parts are beautiful, you also get to feel the terrible roads while you bounce back and forth on the bus and see the run-down homes.
Since 2003 Del Mar College has contracted with Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority to provide free bus rides for students.
Del Mar College pays $23,122 yearly for Del Mar students to ride the bus for free, according to the CCRTA. During the 2014- 15 school year the service was used 105,633 times by students, said Beverly Cage, director of Student Leadership and Campus Life.
Kelly Coughlin, marketing director at CCRTA, believes transportation is key to education.
“Transportation is important to all educational programs because when there are barriers to education, statistically, less people are likely to graduate,” Coughlin said. “Our job is to remove barriers of transportation so that all students have equal access to educational opportunities. The more education a community has the better the chances of success for everyone.”
The CCRTA does its best to promote the program of students riding the bus for free.
“We push this program out on our side for everyone. We let all students know that we meet,” Coughlin said. “We push this out through our social media, website, customer service center, face-to-face interactions and our community outreach efforts.”
For more information on the CCRTA and the bus routes go to www.ccrta.org.