By Taylor Jaseph, Dec. 13, 2022
The popular Foothill Transit bus line, Silver Streak, has been rerouted to include a stop on Cal Poly Pomona’s campus, starting on Jan. 23, 2023.
The location of the new stop will be at the bus turn-around in front of the Student Services Building. This reroute, supported by ASI and the Academic Senate aims to provide CPP students with more accessible, sustainable and equitable modes of transportation.
“This service will also benefit the students from a basic needs standpoint,” said Danny Wu, executive director of the office of Transportation & Planning and co-chair of the Alternative Transportation Committee. “We hear about a lot of students barely able to afford rent or food on the table or books. Those who have a car who can’t afford rent, they’re living in their cars at times. So, we need to think about the people and how a free transit pass, a more reliable transit service, how that can really make a difference for those students.”
The Silver Streak is Foothill Transit’s 24/7 rapid bus service, running from Montclair to downtown Los Angeles with stops every 15 minutes. The Silver Streak line will only stop on campus Monday through Friday and will not be active during holidays.
The seven lines that currently serve CPP will continue to stop along the perimeter of campus on South Campus Drive and Temple Avenue.
According to Felicia Friesema, Foothill Transit’s director of marketing and communications, buses have not stopped on campus in 20 years. Foothill Transit, when figuring out how to get a stop back on campus, decided that the Silver Streak would be the best fit because it’s the longest line that stops at many major transit hubs in the area.
“The numbers show that students rely on public transit, and to put a stop in an easily accessible location on campus at Cal Poly Pomona just makes sense,” Friesema said.
Feedback from the students will be critical in this new reroute for Foothill Transit to see how they can improve the line, according to Friesema.
Foothill Transit can track how many trips CPP students take based on the Class Pass program started in August 2021. In a survey sent to Class Pass users, when asked about the level of support for adding a Silver Streak stop on campus, 89% of responses were strongly agree or agree.
“They are able to actually track which boardings are Cal Poly Class Pass boardings,” said John Lloyd, co-chair of the Alternative Transportation Committee and a senator on the Academic Senate. “And they’re able to tell us which lines people use, and what’s really interesting is that even without Silver Streak stopping on campus, there are significant numbers of Cal Poly students who use the Silver Streak with their Class Pass already.”
The Class Pass program is in its second year, and by the end of spring semester, the university will begin paying Foothill Transit a discounted, prorated rate based on the number of boardings by students. The Class Pass will continue to be free for CPP students who are enrolled in at least one unit.
Not only does the Silver Streak reroute increase accessibility to transportation for students, but it also enables students to choose a more sustainable option. According to Lloyd, the number one source of the university’s greenhouse gas emissions is transportation.
“Parking is constantly a nightmare, and if we want to avoid having to build more parking structures, we need to find alternatives,” Lloyd said. “And, we need to make the alternatives to driving as attractive as possible and Silver Streak certainly is a big piece of the puzzle.”
The Class Pass and Silver Streak reroute are two puzzle pieces to a three-part initiative with Foothill Transit put into play when Wu joined the campus community three years ago. The third initiative will be a long-term strategy of creating a mobility hub on campus.
Currently, Alta Planning + Design is conducting a feasibility study to find the best place for a mobility center and how it can be incorporated on campus. The mobility hub aims to create a central area for all transit, such as bus stops, rideshares, bikes and scooters, providing more accessibility to transit for students.
“This is kind of a win-win, I should say,” said Wu. “It helps improve access to our campus, and it gets them (Foothill Transit) the ridership that they need to be sustainable.”
Feature image courtesy of Felicia Friesema
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