Cal Poly supplemented its 32-year long contract with SLO Transit with an additional flat sum of $7,889 this year to provide additional service to students, faculty and staff. The contract provides free rides for Cal Poly students, faculty and staff, and was started in 1985 to increase alternative forms of transportation for those at Cal Poly.
Additionally, as of Nov. 13, SLO Transit route 3A runs every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to noon and route 3B runs every 30 minutes from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Routes 3A and 3B are the same route, but run in opposite directions.
The changes in routes this year were not related to the contract, but were a result of a short range transit plan the city enacted to make their routes more efficient, according to San Luis Obispo’s Transit Manager Gamaliel Anguiano. The increased service is a result of the supplementation.
The $7,889 came from the general alternative transportation budget, according to Associate Director of University Police for Parking Services Marlene Cramer. The budget manages Zipcar, vanpool and ride pool and is funded through parking citations. Cramer said they had the option of allocating the $7,889 to a new bike share program but chose to focus on transit.
About 62 percent of local revenue to SLO Transit comes from Cal Poly, while the rest comes from local commuters, sales of surplus property and investments. The Cal Poly population is also responsible for about 65 percent of the rides, Anguiano said. He also said that is a small portion compared to money from the federal and state governments, and that the bus service provides 1.2 million rides annually to the elderly, the homeless and regular San Luis Obispo workers, in addition to students and faculty, with limited resources.
The contract was started because there was not enough campus parking to meet demand, according to a 1985 Mustang News article. According to Cramer, Cal Poly is now trying to limit parking and increase alternative transportation as part of the Master Plan. Cramer says parking is an inefficient use of space, and cars contribute 50 percent of the campus’ carbon emissions.
According to Associated Students, Inc. President Riley Nilsen, Cal Poly students expressed concern with the change in service this year following a variety of problems with the system, including students being left behind at bus stops because the buses were too full. A coalition of activist groups released a survey to Anguiano and San Luis Obispo Mayor Heidi Harmon to express their concerns. In addition, the Dean of Students office created a task-force to discuss possible solutions.
“I’m very happy that we came to a resolution with the city, and I’m happy they were able to quickly add resources to solve the issue,” Cramer said.