The free service is meant to promote the use of public transportation in the city of Tracy by student from kindergarten to 12th grade, according to Jayne Pramod, city transportation coordinator.
“They can ride anywhere,” she said. “We’ve done this the last two years and it helped with the student ridership. This is a way for us to help them understand the bus system.”
Bus service is available on fixed routes across the city from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The program is funded through an annual federal transportation grant, Pramod said.
To get a free ride, students must be enrolled at a Tracy school and present a valid student identification card to the driver when getting on the bus.
Pramod said that when the free service started in mid-August 2011, it quickly proved to be popular among local students, many of whom continued to ride the bus after it concluded.
In August 2012, she said, 3,064 students rode city buses. She said that although numbers usually dropped to 700 and 800 students in September, student ridership stayed at 2,357 for October in 2012.
Although the service is open to all Tracy students, the majority of riders are from Kimball, Tracy and West high schools.
“We see ridership increase every time we give free rides,” Pramod said. “I can’t wait to see how many students will ride this time.”
Pramod’s statistics showed that the service has been especially popular among Kimball students.
Kshicij Shah, an incoming junior at Kimball and a member of the school’s leadership council, spoke highly about the city promotional program on Tuesday.
“I think it’s a great opportunity, considering the situation with the economy,” said the 16-year-old. “It’s definitely helps. There are a lot of kids coming from all over Tracy. Education is important, and the ability to get free transportation is huge.”
After the promotion concludes, students can continue to ride the bus one way for $1 or purchase a 10-ride or weekly pass for $10. One-day unlimited passes are also available at a student rate of $2.50.
For information: 831-4287 or www.ci.tracy.ca.us.
• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo 830-4225 or firstname.lastname@example.org.