The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

The Student News Site of Middle College High School @ Santa Ana College

The Spellbinder

Impact of the Youth Ride Free program

The+Youth+Ride+Program+offers+free+access+to+50+routes+throughout+Orange+County.
Christopher Garcia
The Youth Ride Program offers free access to 50 routes throughout Orange County.

Transportation is a luxury not everyone can afford. For many, owning a car or a bike is out of reach. Which is where the Youth Ride Free program enters—it provides students with the ability to reach their destinations without having to stress about having enough money to access transportation.

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), started a promotional program which was meant to run from September 2021 to February 2022. What was intended to be a six-month promotional program, ended up securing youth all over Orange County access to free public transportation for each school year.

Public transportation is used by countless people on a daily basis. It provides people with access to a cheaper alternative to transportation. It is known to also ease traffic congestion and promote a more clean environment.

OCTA has provided various schools across Orange County with bus passes for students to make the program accessible from the comfort of their own schools. Here at Middle College High School, the person in charge of distributing the Youth Ride Free bus passes is Blanca Suarez, the Family and Community Engagement Liaison. She provides students with the permission slip, and once it is signed she provides them with the pass, which can be used all around Orange County.

According to the information recorded about the program at MCHS, a total of 176 students benefit from the program. While this may not seem like a lot, that is almost about half of our school body that is part of this program.

Suarez mentioned that the program has benefited the community in the form of lessened traffic congestion and increased safety for students.

“This program has impacted our school and the community in the sense that I feel like less people are driving cars, and less traffic. I think that it’s safe for students because they wait for the bus together in groups,” said Suarez.

To put it into perspective of the impact of the program, let’s put ourselves in the shoes of Matthew Chirinos, a senior at Godinez Fundamental High School. They ride the bus approximately five times a week, both morning and in the afternoon. Before the Youth Ride Free Program they would purchase their own bus passes.

Fare for the bus is dependent on if you pay for a single ride, day, or month pass. A single ride is $2, for a whole day pass it is $5, and for a month pass it is $69.

Chirinos would purchase the month pass because it was the most economical option for him.

“I would pay before the Youth Ride Free Program. I bought monthly passes but it got too expensive,” Chirinos said.

Chirinos expressed that the program had a positive effect on his life, allowing for money to be put aside for other fees instead of adding onto the cost of public transportation.

“Free access to public transportation has positively impacted my life because it enabled me to reallocate money into other expenses like sports fees, senior activities, and personal spending. I feel less anxious knowing I can easily access free public transportation with less hassle,” Chirinos said.

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About the Contributor
Christopher Garcia, Copy Editor
I love listening to music, some of my favorite artists/bands are the Drop Nineteens, Saint Etienne, and Everything but the Girl. I also have a cat named Peach.