A program offering free, unlimited SunLine bus rides for College of the Desert students launches Monday.
The Haul Pass program is a three-year initiative that will be fully funded by SunLine Transit Agency for the first year with a $696,048 grant from the state’s Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. College officials say that bringing in additional participating schools will hopefully turn the program into a self-sustaining one.
SunLine officials say the program should increase ridership, while helping College of the Desert’s campuses reduce its carbon footprint.
“Helping college students access campus activities, work and leisure destinations through SunLine’s transit network is an exciting addition to our service,” SunLine CEO and General Manager Lauren Skiver said. “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.”
Eligible riders must be actively enrolled at College of the Desert and can use their student ID cards to take advantage of the program.
SunLine and College of the Desert will kick off the program Monday morning with a ceremony at the open air amphitheater at the college’s Palm Desert campus.
“Transportation challenges have long been a hurdle for many of our students and prospective students,” said Becky Broughton, who chairs the Desert Community College District Board of Trustees. “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.”