In spite of having a class pass that allows psychology major Nicholas Passarini to ride the bus for free, he has run into some issues boarding the bus.
Passarini relies on the Citrus College Class Pass provided through the school and Foothill Transit. This pass allows Citrus students to ride specific bus lines for free to and from school. Last year, the Class Pass was implemented after students voted in favor of a raise in their fees to cover the pass.
The Class Pass is an electronic sticker placed onto citrus student IDs allowing access to ride specific bus lines. In the past Foothill Transit issued TAP cards, roughly the size of an ID, so that other colleges could give them to students to use the bus lines for free.
With this pass, Foothill Transit launched a TAP sticker that adheres to the back of Citrus student ID’s, creating some issues between the sticker and the fare box meter on the buses.
According to Felicia Friesema, director of marketing and communications for Foothill Transit, on average, 765 Citrus College students ride Foothill Transit weekly.
Passarini said it’s a 50-50 chance of getting on the bus when the sticker malfunctions and it usually depends on the bus driver.
“Sometimes they don’t work and some will tell you to leave or get off the bus, but some are pretty decent,” he said.
In a week about 10 to 15 students visit Library Technician Terri Worthington in regards to their passes not working. She said this could be due to the time frame in which students pay for and register for classes and when Foothill Transit runs a check to update the stickers.
“More often than not it’s because the stickers aren’t loaded,” Worthington said.
Worthington, who is very observant on the Citrus student Facebook pages for any class pass issues, said Citrus is in good communication with a Foothill Transit whenever the problem arises.
Friesema said they are testing stickers to see if there was a bad batch or if there was a technical malfunction in the making.
“So far the stickers seem to be pretty durable, part of the challenge is the signal isn’t as good as the TAP card,” Friesema said.
Another challenge Foothill Transit is facing is the adaptation with the bus operators.
Friesema said they are working on re-training the bus drivers regarding the Class Pass stickers so they know what’s acceptable from students and what’s not.
George Alcala, bus operator for Foothill Transit, said he currently went through a class for the operation of the new farebox meters.
“It makes a funny noise when it doesn’t work and we don’t know if it’s the machine or the card, the majority work fine but I can’t really tell them to get off or pay,” Alcala said.
Friesema asks that students remain patient due to Citrus being the first school where the Class Pass has been launched.
(With contributions by Megan Bender)