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Alameda County Students Rolling on AC Transit Clipper Cards

2000 students at Castlemont and Fremont High Schools and Frick Impact Academy are celebrating. Their families are celebrating. This August at school registration, all students at Castlemont and Fremont High Schools and Frick Impact Academy received Free and Unlimited Clipper Cards which provide 24/7 access to AC Transit rides. Full list of schools included below. Advantages include an on-time ride to school and home, to after-school activities, to a part-time job on weekends, to BART, the library, the doctor, a college fair. Long-term, students who can depend on reliable public transportation may delay buying a car. In the Bay Area, about 40% of greenhouse gases (GHGs) are generated from non-stationary sources.* Cars and light trucks are the primary sources. 10% of that 40% is attributable to trips taking students to school during the morning rush hour. Every student who has a new Clipper card and gets on the bus, will help decrease GHGs and traffic congestion. This program offers very positive results for students, their families, the schools, and the environment. Environmental pluses of AC Transit. The AC Transit fleet of 600 buses includes the largest number of zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell buses in North America with more on order. AC is in full compliance with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Fleet Rules for Urban Buses. AC gets about 100,000 people out of their cars every day reducing GHG emissions, congestion, and parking demands. History Remember yellow school buses? They were free for families and they drove the roads of California and most states to take kids to school and bring them home. Free transportation to school in California is a victim of Prop.13. In the 80s when school districts began to receive less revenue from the state for education, free buses were gradually discontinued. Measure BB, passed by Alameda County voters in 2014, raised the county sales tax by one-half of one percent. This revenue includes an allocation of $15 million for the Affordable Student Transit Passes. The Transit Pass program is administered by Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC). ACTC awarded a consulting contract to a San Francisco transportation firm. They set up a 3-year pilot program which started this school year. Alameda County is divided into 4 parts: North, Central, South, and East. Schools with similar demographics were selected in each area. North County: Pilot Program A: Free and Universal (all students) Clipper cards: Castlemont HS, Fremont HS, and Frick Impact Academy.

Pilot Program B: Berkeley REALM Charter High School and Middle School. Informational program to support transit use. Central County: Pilot Program C: Free Clipper cards to grades 8-10. San Leandro High School and John Muir Middle School. South County: Pilot Program D: Discounted transit passes on AC Transit or Union City Transit. Limited to certain grades: James Logan High School and Cesar Chavez Middle School in Union City. East County: Pilot Program E: Two-tier passes for use on LAVTA: Livermore High School and East Avenue Middle School. Results of the pilot programs will be analyzed annually. At the end of three years the program will be finalized using the results from the pilot program. With a successful pilot, there are funds available to spread the program County-wide to all middle and high schools. Plan to celebrate!

Gayle Eads,

Former Chair, San Francisco Bay Chapter, Sierra Club Member, Genesis Bus Pass Team

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