Skip to main content

Breaking News: WATCH: KPBS Evening Edition is live now (Posted 01/19/21 at 5:02 p.m.)

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Transfer Of Power | Racial Justice

San Diego Students Want Cap-And-Trade Dollars For Free Youth Bus Passes

Abdulrahim Mohamed speaks to supporters Dec. 10, 2014 at a rally for free stu...

Photo by Megan Burks

Above: Abdulrahim Mohamed speaks to supporters Dec. 10, 2014 at a rally for free student bus passes.

Special Feature Speak City Heights

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

Students marched from San Diego High School to the Metropolitan Transit System offices Wednesday to persuade the transit agency to invest in a program that has given free bus passes to students at four area schools.

City Heights nonprofit Mid-City CAN organized the students. The group wants MTS to kick in new cap-and-trade dollars to sustain and expand the bus pass program.

The state's cap-and-trade fund is set to grow by $4 billion next year, when oil companies will begin paying the state to offset their carbon emissions. The money is headed to local jurisdictions, and MTS will soon have to develop a plan for spending the funds.

Currently, the San Diego Unified School District is shouldering the $200,000 cost. District leaders hope the program will increase student attendance and achievement. With school bus routes cut, many students must now walk to school or rely on city buses, which can cost them $432 annually for an already-discounted pass.

Hoover High School senior Thong Huang said he's become more involved in leadership activities since getting the pass because he can travel to community meetings after school.

"I strongly support the youth bus pass campaign, because it is very crucial for us to offer each and every young student the equal opportunity to pursue their education, future and career," Huang, 17, said.

MTS spokesman Rob Schupp said it's too early to make any commitments.

"We're still waiting to find out whether or not it has the desired effects," Schupp said.

MTS is working with the district to track student ridership under the program. Early student survey results did not show increased attendance but did show students were safer because they didn't have to walk through high-crime areas.

The pilot program runs through the spring semester.


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.