Some very good news: earlier this month, we surpassed one million boardings of students using Metro’s GoPass for fare free transit.
The GoPass program offers fare free transit rides on Metro and 12 other transit agencies in L.A. County to students at participating schools and school districts. The program is relatively new — it was approved by the Metro Board of Directors in September of last year — but there are already more than 92,000 students enrolled from 50 school districts, charter networks and community colleges.
Among those who have already joined are the massive Los Angeles Unified School District, the largest in L.A. County. Another 40 schools and/or districts are in the process of enrolling — including the Long Beach Unified School District, the second-largest K-12 district in the county, and Cerritos College, which both kick off their programs this week. The 80-plus schools and districts include more than 1,500 school and over 1.3 million students who are now eligible to ride fare free with the GoPass.
A study conducted by The Hope Center for Community College and Justice and DVP Praxis showed that students with access to discounted or free transit performed better in student retention, credits earned, and completion than those without an assisted transit card. In this study, students receiving a Metro pass were 17% more likely to earn a credential, and 27% more likely to earn an associate degree.
That, of course, is only part of the story. There is also a proven correlation between access to higher education and earning power. In fact, studies show that 90% of those without a high school diploma never earn more than $40,000 a year. Conversely, a two-year associate degree increases income potential by up to 47%, but statewide, only 30% of community college students receive their degree, and only 26% of African American students and 22% of Latino students graduate.
To put it another way: the GoPass is a good example of public transit connecting people to opportunity.
Please click here to learn more about the GoPass and how to get your school and/or district enrolled.