All students deserve accessible public transportation

Julie Liu/Staff

All students — new and returning — deserve Cal 1 Cards that guarantee us the greatest access to the Bay Area and everything that it has to offer. Our college experience should never be confined to the classrooms and libraries on campus; rather, we deserve to have the opportunity to enrich our time here with internships in San Francisco, volunteer trips around the Bay Area or even weekend and holiday visits home. Whatever the reason for which students may use public transportation, making BART more accessible for all students has been my mission since my election as an ASUC senator.

Last week, our ASUC Senate passed Senate Resolution No. 2015-2016-008, In Support of Cal 1 Card’s Integration of Clipper Card Capacities. I authored this bill to send a clear and strong message to the university administration: All students deserve equal access to public transportation, including convenient accessibility to BART.

We, the administration and I, have been in conversation about fully integrating Clipper card capacities into Cal 1 Cards for some time now. After several discussions, we have agreed that this goal should undoubtedly be one of the top campus priorities. As of now, we have made substantial progress and will hopefully hand out new Cal 1 Cards this upcoming summer of 2016 at CalSO.

These new Cal 1 Cards will eliminate the troublesome ClassPass stickers, which are an unnecessary hassle for students to obtain at the start of every semester in order to more conveniently ride AC Transit buses. In addition, students will be able to load money onto a separate Clipper card account on their Cal 1 Cards.

Yet, there are two major problems that have yet to be resolved.

The first is the logistical question of feasibility given the amount of variables currently at play. More specifically, these logistical problems include the potential scramble to overhaul tens of thousands of Cal 1 Cards and the distribution of the new cards to tens of thousands of students.

Second, the administration does not know which card readers across campus are old and which are new. Because the use of Cal 1 Cards has never been catalogued before, this poses a challenge for the administration because old card readers are unable to read Cal 1 Cards with new technology. Installing new card readers will mean that the administration needs further funding to pursue this project.

We must push through these obstacles together. Every single student on campus will benefit from an easy-to-use Cal 1 Card that can access every form of public transportation they could ever possibly need. And that’s why passing this ASUC bill was so important.

To resolve logistical challenges with reprinting Cal 1 Cards for returning students, here are two potential solutions: The administration can ask students to go online and reserve a date and time to pick up pre-printed Cal 1 Cards or the administration can designate certain days and times for certain students to pick up their pre-printed Cal 1 Cards — for example, students with an A-C last name can come on Monday, and students with a D-F last name can come on Tuesday.

To resolve the issue of card readers, the administration has recently sent out a survey to student organizations, faculty and staff to understand the practicality of the technology and Cal 1 Card overhaul. Once survey responses are compiled and analyzed, the administration will have a clearer sense of how to progress with this project.

That being said, our input as students is so important. We need to emphasize how beneficial the Cal 1 Card’s integration of Clipper card capacities will be for the entire student body. Students should not — and will not — have to pay for a feature that they already deserve to have, and furthermore, all students should receive these new Cal 1 Cards.

Before the semester ends, there will be a Townhall hosted with administrators to discuss this specific issue, and it is crucial for students to come and vocalize support for having Cal 1 Cards with integrated Clipper card capacities. Our voices matter.

Berkeley City Community College already has an I.D. card with Clipper card capacities. It’s time for UC Berkeley to modernize and give its students I.D. cards that fulfill their needs.

See you all at the Townhall!

Andre Luu is a Student Action senator of the Associated Students of the University of California.

Contact the Opinion Desk at [email protected] and follow us on Twitter at @dailycalopinion.

Tags No tags yet