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Clark Students Now Get Free Bus Passes, But Not Free of Charge

(Mary Guevara/ Clark Indy)

Clark College recently partnered with C-Tran to offer free bus passes to all Clark students. Well, kind of free.

Prior to this new agreement, the BackPASS was available to students at a reduced cost of $15. C-Tran’s BackPASS program will now be offered at no cost and they’ll be valid for use starting April 1. Students need a Clark College ID card to receive the bus pass sticker, which costs $9 annually to purchase. So although the bus pass is now free, students will still need to purchase their ID.

According to Clark’s Chief Communications Officer Kelly Love, the new agreement was part of an effort by C-Tran to support students in both K-12 and post-secondary education. C-Tran agreed to a long-term contract with Clark, allowing students to receive free bus passes for the next 10 years. 

“It’s a community thing,” Love said. “It’s our transportation agency reaching out and taking a look at some of the barriers that get in the way of students, not just to get to classes, but to get to work, to daycare or to get to the store.”

Love said that although she doesn’t have numbers on how many Clark students rely on mass transit, she’s interested in seeing what things will look like post-pandemic. Going forward, Clark students will have to renew their BackPASS through the bookstore each quarter. 

“Our comment on behalf of the college is one of gratitude and appreciation to C-Tran for recognizing the needs of our students and recognizing that even during COVID-19, many of our students do not have the luxury of working from home,” Love said. “They are in jobs that require them to be present and these bus passes will assist them now, regardless of whether or not they’re coming to classes yet.”

 ASCC President Josiah Joner said that they don’t currently have plans to reduce or remove the fee for the annual student ID, but it’s something they will consider.

“We’re really grateful to C-Tran for providing our students this service,” Joner said. “I would like to look into the fee a little more and try to remove any barriers students might face trying to get their bus pass.” 

Currently, Clark students pay for parking regardless of whether or not they use public transit. Each quarter students pay $1.25 per credit, up to 10 credits, and this parking fee is included in every student’s tuition. Mike See, director of security and safety services, said the parking fee helps cover the costs of things like security and maintenance. 

“Student fees are something that are constantly being assessed,” See said. “I don’t think parking is currently on anyone’s agenda, but one of the tasks that Dr. Edwards has assigned us is to take a look at student fees and see if they are still appropriate and fair.”

Clark students can get their student ID and the BackPASS through the Clark College Bookstore. For more information or to make an appointment, click here. 

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