Op-Ed: The Cost Analysis of Eco Pass
October 29, 2017
My day officially begins when I board a 7am Caltrain, get off 10 minutes later at the Mountain View Station, and spend another 15 minutes searching for coffee in Downtown Mountain View. My commute culminates in a 25 minute long ride on Bus 52 to Foothill, where I make my 8am often only by sprinting. Six to twelve hours later, I repeat the same routine for the total of two hours a day spent in commute. Taking public transit isn’t always fun, with its unpunctuality, lack of privacy, and time consuming nature, but it’s much better than my alternative: not attending Foothill at all.
I couldn’t drive when I was a high school senior, and Foothill, so far from where I live, was barely a real place to me. It was only until a friend pushed me to seriously consider Foothill that I bothered to research and see if transit options to Foothill even existed. A one minute Google Maps query proved that they did, and a following visit to Foothill’s website proved that it was affordable. It’s thanks to the Eco Pass I’m able to enjoy Foothill’s Honors Program — the only community college Honors Program within 40 miles of where I live — as well as other robust and often rare course offerings.
Without the Eco Pass, public transit costs almost as much as tuition. Students who routinely travel long distances to get to school and can’t afford to pay regular fare may have to stop attending Foothill altogether. The most affordable option (buying Eco Pass individually) still costs $940 more per year than the school provided Eco Pass*; this is equivalent to more than 15 units at Foothill education (that’s a bit more one quarter full time!), multiple transfer applications or a month of rent — all expenses that many college students already bear. We truly can’t afford to lose the Eco Pass.
*Eco Pass is $80/month for individuals. With 3 months in a quarter, the cost totals to to 240/quarter. For 4 quarters, the final total is $940.