By Daniel Duque and Samantha Carmona, Nov. 6, 2023
Metrolink introduced its new Student Adventure Pass Oct. 9, a pilot program offering anyone with a valid student ID the opportunity to use the rail system free of charge. This includes Cal Poly Pomona students, who can utilize it during the program’s six months runtime, or until its grant runs out.
The Metrolink is Los Angeles’s commuter rail system and currently serves five other counties in Southern California. The Student Adventure Pass grants free tickets to all Metrolink rails and currently replaces the old student discount it once offered of 25% off passes and tickets.
For Cal Poly Pomona students, the closest Metrolink stations to campus are the Pomona North, Pomona Downtown and Industry stations. Students can then take the Bronco shuttle from Pomona North or the Foothill Transit bus from Pomona Downtown or Industry to campus or vice versa.
The Bronco shuttle operates for morning and evening commuters, which include times between 7:35 a.m. to 9:35 a.m. and 3:55 p.m. to 5:55 p.m., respectively. Its schedule prioritizes prime hours in which students are expected to arrive or leave campus for class, leaving a rather large gap between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Student Adventure Pass can be used for any commute purpose outside of school. CPP business administration student Mason Cook noted the opportunities the Student Adventure Pass provides for their weekly commute to work.
“It allows students from as far as San Bernardino to easily reach places like L.A., Pomona, or if you live closer to campus or on campus, you can go as far as Riverside, San Bernadino, L.A.,” said Cook. “It opens up a big range of options. You don’t have to worry about driving.”
However, CPP Professor Dohyung Kim of the Urban & Regional Planning Department expressed concerns with the shuttle services transporting students from campus to Metrolink stations.
“I was told very, very notorious stories about the shuttles — they don’t come on time, are delayed or don’t have frequent service,” said Kim. “If we want to make this service successful, we need to think about our campus.”
Inconsistencies with the shuttle services have also been expressed by students. Cecilyah New explained she hopes an increased use of the Metrolink will lead to extended hours for the shuttles to campus.
“Hopefully, they put more shuttles going back at (noon) instead of just all nighttime, like 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.,” said New. “I did have to take the bus to go to the train station for the afternoon time, but it was super inconvenient — I’d maybe not want to go on the train again.”
New said the wait to get to the station by shuttle was about an hour and she waited an additional hour for the next train to arrive.
Despite shuttle concerns, New liked her experience using the Metrolink and particularly enjoyed the free time it offered her compared to her usual commute by car.
“It’s just being able to do other stuff, so instead of focusing on driving, I can focus on finishing my homework that I didn’t do,” she added.
According to Metrolink Board Chair Larry McCallon, students currently make up only 17% of Metrolink riders. McCallon hopes the Student Adventure Pass will open the gates for a new generation of riders.
Cook, who is also an administrative intern for Los Angeles Metro, said it is a big advocate for public transportation and agree that the Student Adventure Pass is a good step forward to increase access.
“It saves a lot of gas, a lot of money and a lot of emissions just by taking (public) transportation, even if it is just once a week,” said Cook. “And plus, it’s a great way to avoid L.A. traffic.”
On a similar note, Kim explained how utilizing the Metrolink is good for sustainability in a car-dominant city such as Los Angeles.
“Congestion, greenhouse gases, delay — everything is because of cars,” said Kim. “So that’s why with sustainable transportation, we super emphasize and reduce the dependency on driving cars.”
When it comes to transportation, students who commute should have multiple options and easy access to these services. Metrolink’s Student Adventure Pass should encourage students to use this service as an environmentally friendly alternative to driving.
To learn more about the Student Adventure Pass, visit Metrolink online or download the Metrolink app to sign up.