As of the 2016-2017 school year, PCC students will no longer be able to purchase I-TAP cards in order to receive discounted fare on Metro transit services.

Rebecca Cobb, the Dean of Student Life, wrote in an email that by that by the end of July 2016 the I-TAP cards will not longer be offered to students who rely on the reduced Metro fare to commute to school.

The decision to discontinue the program stemmed from a disagreement between PCC and Metro as to which students on campus would be entitled to purchase I-TAP cards.

PCC originally worked in combination with Santa Monica College and Metro to establish a reduced fare I-TAP card agreement. According to PCC spokesman Alex Boekelheide, “the agreement worked for a while, but the school wanted to open the I-TAP cards up to all students, not just full-time students, and Metro had some issues with that arrangement.”

From Boekelheide’s understanding, Metro was more comfortable with giving passes to full-time students because students who may be only taking one class could get discounted fares to Metro’s services, which would not be beneficial to Metro.

“So many of our students are part-timers, and that is where the impasse has become,” Boekelheide said. “PCC pulling out of the I-TAP program is not an accurate way to describe [the situation]. What is happening is that there are some disagreements going on right now over how the I-TAP program has been arranged, and we are trying to work that out with Metro.”

However, PCC and Metro are working to come to an agreement over the situation.

As part of this agreement-in-progress, the California State Assembly has been working towards passing Assembly Bill 2222 (AB2222), spear headed by Assemblyman Chris Holden (D- Pasadena).

According to the office of Assemblyman Holden, “the bill would take $50 million of revenues from California’s Cap & Trade carbon auctions and use them to provide subsidized transit passes for college students. Community Colleges with a strong transportation plan would be able to seek the funding from Caltrans to provide the passes [to students].”

Garo Manjikian, press aide to Holden, explained that it would take “about 8-9 months from the bill’s introduction until the Governor decides to sign or veto a measure. The bill would then become binding law January 1, 2017.”

Ricardo Patlan, the student vice president of external affairs, has been working with PCC to resolve this issue with Metro and to promote the passing of AB2222.

“We are working with Metro to get a new program implemented, both a PCC specific program and a countywide universal program which is still very preliminary,” wrote Patlan.

The state assembly will evaluate AB2222 in the next few months.

“AB2222 will face its first Committee hearing in early April. From there the Appropriations Committee in the Assembly will weigh in on the use of the $50 million,” Manjikian said. “If we can survive that big hurdle the bill will go to a full floor vote in May and then hopefully off to the State Senate to do it all over again this summer.”

Holden was unavailable for comment.

Other bills, including AB2222, are being lobbied. The transportation equity package can be found here.




One Reply to “I-TAP hits roadblock between Metro and PCC”

  1. I’m a student at Pasadena City, and it was very surprising to learn about this during my first day in Fall 2016. I went up to the Metro booth and asked about the I-TAP I had used the previous semester. The woman at the booth said nothing more than “I don’t know” or “we don’t have that information” and quickly dismissed any follow up questions. The alternative they offered was a $95 “Sticker” that essentially did everything the old I-TAP card did. The only difference was the fact that it’s a sticker. Last semester I paid about $30 for the I-TAP. Now if the price had doubled it could have been somewhat reasonable. But tripling the price? It just seems extremely greedy on the part of Metro. That’s not to say the school administration is not to blame as I expect they get a cut of the nearly $100 “your transportation needs don’t matter to us” sticker, but at the end of the day their game of student politics will be the difference between a student buying a book for class and a student getting to class. It’s just another expense that has been dropped on the backs of already burdened students.

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