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* Student fee aimed at transportation issues

Parking cheaper,
other changes

 

The Sustainable Commuter Options Fee approved by students during Spring Quarter, 2009, will also help reduce the cost of quarterly parking passes from $25 to $15.

 

In addition, the college is disabling the daily parking-pass machines. Eventually, the machines will be removed.

 

“The only parking on campus will be either with a parking pass or in the visitors lot,” Vice President for Administrative Services Daryl Campbell said.

 

The visitors lot space is free, but space is limited. Visitors may park free for 30 minutes without a pass. For longer stays, visitors should get a free day permit at the 1000 Building information desk. Safety and Security Director Robin Heslop said parking checkers will be watching the lot to guard against those using the lot as an alternative to buying a pass.

 

“We’ll also continue to have free parking in the Sears lot and a free shuttle to the campus,” Campbell said.

Don’t scoff, two of the more visible policy changes implemented this fall at Shoreline Community College are in place because students did, SCOF, that is.

 

Subsidized Metro Transit passes and cheaper on-campus parking permits are all because the Sustainable Commuter Options Fee (SCOF) was approved by students during the Spring, 2009 elections. The $34 fee is the brainchild of SCC student body President Yasuhiro Sumino

 

“It started with Yasu,” said Vice President for Student Success Tonya Drake. “He saw a need to help students get discounted bus passes.”

 

The journey began nearly a year ago with Sumino, Drake and other students and college officials looking into details of how to make the vision a reality. In looking at neighboring colleges and the University of Washington, it became clear that those schools had one thing SCC didn’t: A source of funding to pay for the subsidy or discount.

 

That lack of funding became even more important after a Fall Quarter, 2008 meeting with Metro Transit officials.

 

The transit officials pointed out that the programs at other schools were partnerships between the schools and Metro. Without something for the college to bring to the table, Metro couldn’t offer much in the way of price-breaks for students. All of the other neighboring schools, from the UW to Edmonds Community College, assess some sort of transportation fee that is paid by all students. At the time Shoreline Community College did not assess such a fee.

 

“Yasu did the very hard work of talking about the problem and working with the rest of student government and the college administration to work out the details of the fee,” Drake said, adding that any such fee would have to first be approved by the students themselves. “It went to the students this past spring and passed in large part due to his work.”

 

Officially called the Sustainable Commuter Options Fee (SCOF), the proposal was reviewed and approved by the Student Services and Activities Committee before going on the ballot. Besides transit pass discounts, the $34 per quarter fee is part of fund that supports parking lot maintenance, security personnel salaries, rental of the Sears parking lot, shuttle bus maintenance and driver’s salaries, vans for sports teams, security escorts, motorist assists and first aid supplies.

 

Eventually, the discount will apply to the ORCA Card, a cooperative program involving the seven transportation agencies in the Puget Sound region. ORCA uses smart card technology to automatically account for different fares and transfers on Community Transit, Everett Transit, King County Metro Transit, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Sound Transit and Washington State Ferries.

 

The Orca program is hoped to be available to students starting Winter Quarter 2010. in the meantime, money from  the Sustainable Commuter Options Fee will be used to provide discounts for bus passes under the former system. SCC employees started on the ORCA Card on Sept. 1, but transit officials are still working out the details for students.

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