The Bus and Merced College have recently joined forces on a new initiative to help students fulfill their academic goals.
The proposed ‘MC Bus 4 Me’ program, which goes to the student body for a vote in mid-September, would charge students a $9.95 transportation fee at the beginning of every semester. In exchange, all students would be allowed to ride any fixed route on The Bus throughout Merced county for free by simply showing their Merced College student ID card.
“We’re excited about the possibility of being able to offer this service to our student body,” said Mike McCandless, vice president of Student Services at Merced College. “Transportation to get to classes, the grocery store and healthcare appointments can be such an obstacle for many of our students; so, we’re happy to be able to help remove that barrier from their lives.”
The proposed program at Merced College is similar to those at other community colleges throughout the state such as Modesto Junior College, Ventura College, Oxnard College and more. The Bus currently has 10 fixed routes that stop at the Los Banos and Merced campuses of Merced College 194 times per day. Students can catch a bus to campus at one of 238 bus stops located throughout the county. A current bus pass for students costs $180 per semester.
“This would be a ‘win’ for students and their families,” said Stacie Dabbs, Executive Director of Merced County Association of Governments, which operates The Bus. “Not only would they save money and receive unlimited access to transportation that will get them to class, but more bus riders means more customers at local businesses, congestion relief on local roads, and improvement of our air quality.”
All schedules and hours of operation can be found online at: mercedthebus.com, or by calling The Bus at (209) 723-3100. Real-time information regarding bus locations, services and arrival times can be found online at: thebuslive.com, or by downloading ‘The Bus Live’ app on your smart phone for free. All buses are equipped with bike racks, Wi-Fi, and are wheelchair accessible.
The Bus is the single public transportation service provider for all of Merced County and is administered by the Transit Joint Powers Authority for Merced County and managed by the Merced County Association of Governments (MCAG).