SunLine and College
of the Desert Partner
to Provide Free Rides for College Students
SunLine Transit Agency and College of the Desert are partnering to
provide current students with free unlimited SunBus rides as part of SunLine’s
new Haul Pass program.
SunLine received a $696,048 grant from California’s Low Carbon Transit
Operations Program (LCTOP) to fund a three-year program. The Haul Pass program
will grow using assistance from participating schools – beginning with this
College of the Desert partnership.
SunLine will cover 100% of the costs for year one. The goal is to partner with
additional schools and build a program that becomes self-sustaining. The
commitment made by local partners to help fund this initiative in the future
will allow SunLine to reprogram a portion of this LCTOP grant funding into
other meaningful services for the community.
“Helping college students access campus activities, work and leisure
destinations through SunLine’s transit network is an exciting addition to our
service,” said Lauren Skiver, CEO/General Manager of SunLine Transit Agency.
“SunLine is pleased to partner with our higher learning institutions to improve
residents’ access to college and help remove barriers that prevent youth from
obtaining a degree.”
Becky Broughton, Chairwoman of the Desert Community College District, shared
“Transportation challenges have long been a hurdle for many of our students and
prospective students,” Broughton said. “Providing these free SunBus rides to
our students will further provide them access to a higher education at our College
of the Desert campuses across the Coachella Valley. I’m absolutely thrilled. This
is a wonderful partnership and I’m excited to see it come to fruition.”
Transportation can be a real challenge for some Coachella Valley
residents seeking education and employment opportunities. This program will
provide college students an expanded mobility option. SunLine hopes to see an
increase in its ridership numbers, thereby helping the valley reduce its carbon
The Haul Pass program is scheduled to kick off this fall for College of the
Desert students. The fall semester begins Aug. 27.
To be eligible, students must be enrolled at College of the Desert. Students
will use their active student ID card by swiping them through the SunBus card
reader on the fare box. Should they require assistance, bus operators can help.
In addition to transportation to and from College of the Desert,
the Haul Pass program allows students to use their active student ID cards to
make unlimited local fixed route transit trips any day of the week as well as
transfers on the SunBus. Free fare for college students excludes the SunDial
paratransit service and the Commuter Link 220.
SunLine can assist with trip planning over the phone, or the Agency also offers
free group training as well as one-on-one travel training for anyone who is new
to transit or needs assistance. Sunline.org, along with the SunBus Tracker App,
are other resources that can help provide trip/route information.
For more information, call SunLine Customer Service at (760) 343-3451.