Sheila Sobchik

Rest assured that the next parking ticket placed on your windshield goes to a great cause. The city of San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly negotiated another five-year contract to ensure that Cal Poly students can ride SLO Transit buses.

Cindy Campbell, associate director of the University Police Department, said students are able to ride for free because of money collected from citation fines. No tax dollars or tuition fees are used for paying the city. Cal Poly will pay $322,000 for the first and second years of the agreement. By the third year an inflation factor of three percent was calculated into the costs, altogether Cal Poly’s contribution will be $1,669,128. The end figure is 20 percent higher than the last agreement’s figure due to the rising fuel rates, contract and maintenance costs.

Transit manager for the city of San Luis Obispo Austin O’Dell was happy the city council approved Cal Poly’s subside agreement with the city because the deal enables every Cal Poly student, faculty member with a Cal Poly photo ID to ride SLO transit without any additional fare to be paid.

The only exception to the pre-paid service is when students take an RTA bus, students ride for a discounted rate to head to places outside the community, such as Pismo.

“(The agreement) benefits students by offering a free form of alternative transportation to the high cost of campus parking,” O’Dell said.

In fact, a daily parking pass raised a dollar and is now $5 (that could be lunch). A parking pass will cost students $90 per quarter and $270 for all three quarters.

“It’s a good partnership with the city since a lot of our students use the service,” Campbell said.

In fact, according to data collected, over half of the SLO transit riders are Cal Poly students.

Every CSU campus must set aside how parking fee money should be spent, Campbell said. Cal Poly’s administration decided to use the funds toward what affects students the most: Transportation. By students taking advantage of the pre-paid bus fares, roads are less congested and better for the environment, reported O’Dell.

Campbell said Cal Poly spends more than what is required by the CSU system standards.

Other fund money is spent on bike lockers located all around campus and near the residence halls to encourage those with expensive bikes to consider alternative options besides driving to campus.

Aerospace engineering freshman Danielle Sanchez and civil engineering freshman Spenser Brown sat at the bus stop in front of the UU waiting to take the bus. Both have ridden the bus only a few times and prefer it over driving. Sanchez said she enjoyed the convenience of swiping her Cal Poly ID instead of constantly worrying about having enough cash on her.

“It’s nice because the whole area is dedicated towards catering to students,” Brown said.

Both students were waiting for the bus and had no clue their transportation was truly free, not something added to their tuition cost.

“That’s sweet,” Sanchez said when she heard she was getting a free ride.

Check out for a listing of routes and bus schedules.

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