Photo courtesy of? Need Photo
College of the Desert students will see a $25 transportation fee appearing on their student registration and account statement for both the fall and spring semesters only. This fee will added for the spring 2020 semester.
The Associated Students of College of the Desert (ASCOD) voted in favor of the implementation of a mandatory transportation fee for both student parking and Sunbus services. The resolution passed with a 61% majority.
Students will choose which option fee they want, either the parking permit or a pass for unlimited use of Sunline bus services.
The parking permit option can be ordered at COD’s website or picked up at the Bursar’s office. The Sunline bus option, students will need to present a valid COD student identification card. This fee will apply to all students whether they drive or not.
ASCOD elections were held last spring, and the mandatory fee was on the ballot to vote whether students agreed or disagreed for this to pass.
According to Carlos Maldonado, the director of Student Life, “ASCOD came to this decision because there was a high percentage of students who voted for the $25 fee to pass.”
ASCOD said they did not make this decision without viewing the results on what students voted for. ASCOD works to ensure that the needs of students, both social and educational, are met.
Between 2018 and 2019, there was a high usage rate of students who would ride the bus. It estimated 14,000 bus rides were used by students. Many came from the eastern valley and had difficulties with transportation. COD and Sunline came to an agreement that registered students may use Sunline services for free rides in the fall and spring semesters.
The $25 fee is included because the collge needs to generate income for Sunline. Students will not be refunded if they drop out.
The parking permit used to be $20 for the fall and spring semesters for a long time. Students who drive had the choice to purchase the parking permit and park anywhere on campus. It was not a necessary need if the student wanted to park for the rest of the semester outside the campus.
Student Life assistant Danny Torres said, “Regardless whether you drive a vehicle, take an Uber, or the bus, all students need to pay the $25 fee.”
But even after being voted by the majority, many COD students disagree with ASCOD’s decision.
Administration of justice major Yahaira Murillo said, “I think it’s not fair that everyone should pay the fee. Not everyone rides the bus or drives a car.”
Kate Da Silva, a chemistry major said, “I don’t know how to feel about it because it’s the option between having a parking pass or getting bus transportation which is cool and all, but you shouldn’t force people to do that. I think it places unnecessary stress for people, but at the same time, you have to either spend money to park or spend money to take the bus to get to class already. I guess it depends on the statistics of kids that pay for parking and those who take the bus. I park where I don’t have to pay, so this is an unnecessary $25 fee for me.”
Meilee Quintanilla, a health science major said, “The fee adds onto our college fees which are already expensive. This is not fair.”
Victor Carrillo, a psychology major said, “I think it’s just an attempt by the school to gain money from all students who don’t pay for parking passes. This really does not benefit students who do not drive at all.”
Eliu Benavides double major in theater arts and communication said, “Although I do not take the bus, or have the license to drive my own car, I completely empathize with the students who will now be forced to pay a fee. What if they don’t have enough money to do so?”
Maldonado did mention there will be certain grants that will cover the transportation fee for students in these programs. Such as English as a Second Language (ESLN), high school (HS) completion, but not all grants will.
This seems to be a new change students will have to adjust to.
For more information regarding the new mandatory transportation fee, contact Student Life located next to the Beeps Cafe or the Bursar’s Office inside the Cravens Student Services building.