The Los Angeles Community College District has received a $1-million grant to continue providing free Metro passes for about half a million students through the current academic year, officials said.
The initiative, called GoPass, provides a free Metro TAP card to L.A. community college students for use on all Metro buses and trains, as well as 13 additional transit agencies. The program benefits up to 500,000 students across the county.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) secured the $1-million funding through a congressionally directed spending grant, supporting GoPass’ extension into the 2022-23 school year for all 21 community colleges in Los Angeles County, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“Lack of transportation is one of the leading barriers for students seeking to complete their education, and that’s particularly true in large metropolitan areas like Los Angeles,” Feinstein said.
The majority of L.A. community college students come from low-income communities, and the district says more than half of its students live at or below the poverty line. Metro U-Passes cost $160 or more per semester.
The GoPass helps eliminate that cost barrier, Metro officials said.
The initiative launched in December 2021, following a push from student advocates. The GoPass added 20 school districts in its second year and plans to add 10 more, Metro officials said, as well as offering free transit passes to students at participating K-12 schools.
The agency said it seeks to double participation over the next year.