Matthew has a passion for politics and ran for the State Assembly when he was just 23-years-old. He’s also written letters to the editor encouraging people to use public transit. He believes that one of the best ways to rally people around a cause is to give them firsthand experience of what it means. “It’s especially important for decision-makers to understand the needs of the people they represent,” said Matthew. “For example I think your bus agency board members should all ride the bus for a day to experience a day in the life of an Omnitrans rider.”
An experienced rider, Matthew has been using public transit almost exclusively for the past 15 years. He rode between Ontario and the University of California at Riverside (UCR) for 2 years when he was a political science major back in 2003. “It was before Riverside Transit Agency had their express bus service. My day used to start at 5 in the morning and I’d get home around 9:00 at night. It was a long commute, but I was able to get all my class reading done on the bus,” said Matthew. “It worked for me.”
Now his commute is only 5 hours a week, and he is able to take advantage of the GoSmart College Pass program which allows him to ride for free with his student ID. He hopes the program will receive the support it needs to in order to continue. Chaffey students will be voting in early April on whether or not to fund the program through a $7.50 transportation fee as part of their registration.
“It’s a win for all the students,” Matthew pointed out. “Those of us who use the service are able to save a lot of money. It used to cost me about $35 a month to ride the bus, which may not sound like much, but the savings definitely add up. Even students with cars benefit from the program because there’s less competition for parking—something that’s always a premium on a college campus. It’s also a great backup for students when their car breaks down or they can’t afford the gas.”
– Juno Kughler Carlson
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