ASUC Senate will vote to put bus pass referendum on ballot

AC Transit was forced to cut costs in order to balance its budget.
Anna Vignet/Senior Staff

The ASUC Senate will discuss a bill Wednesday night that would put a referendum on the 2012 general election ballot to give students the option to extend unrestricted ridership on local bus services.

The bill — authored by ASUC President Vishalli Loomba and campus Graduate Assembly President Bahar Navab — supports the renewal of the Class Pass program, which gives students unlimited ridership on the AC Transit and Bear Transit systems. If passed, the referendum will eventually increase the price of the student fee and will be in effect from 2013 through 2020.

According to the bill, the pass currently costs students $79 per semester. If the new pass program goes into effect, the price will decrease to $77 per semester for the first three years, but will eventually be raised to $86 by the end of the seven-year agreement.

The program also gives unlimited transbay service to San Francisco and the line from the Fremont BART station to Stanford University, according to the bill.

Though students will have access to the same bus services, the fee changes are occurring in part due to the fact that AC Transit has experienced fare increases since the last Class Pass program was initiated, according to AC Transit spokesperson Clarence Johnson.

“This is just part of what we need to do and what other institutions need to do to stay viable,” Johnson said.

The bill also supports installing NextBus technology — which posts estimated bus arrival times — on Bear Transit bus shelters. AC Transit already uses NextBus, but the referendum would allow NextBus or a similar technology to be utilized by Bear Transit, Navab said.

Navab said an additional goal of the referendum is to introduce Clipper cards —which use an electronic system to pay for bus fare — or have student ID cards work like Clipper cards, which would eliminate the current sticker system.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the class pass bill would be voted on by the ASUC Senate. In fact, the bill was only discussed.