C-Tran expands youth bus program

Vancouver, Evergreen middle and high school students can get free pass

By Katie Gillespie, Columbian Education Reporter

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C-Tran is poised to expand its free student bus pass program to all students in the Vancouver and Evergreen school districts.

At last Tuesday’s board meeting, the C-Tran board voted 5 to 4 to extend the Youth Opportunity Pass — previously targeted at low-income students — to all middle and high school students in Clark County’s largest districts. The passes, which come in the form of small stickers affixed to a student’s school identification card, guarantee them yearlong free ridership and access to Marshall and Firstenburg Community Centers.

Vancouver City Councilor Bart Hansen was the most vocal proponent of expanding the program, saying the current program misses a swath of students who may not be traditionally considered low income, but whose families may not have time or resources to transport their children around town.

“There are a lot more students that could be served that aren’t going to get that opportunity,” he said.

The program will remain in its current state for smaller Clark County districts.

Tom Hagley, Vancouver Public School chief of staff, submitted a letter of support on behalf of both Vancouver and Evergreen school districts to the C-Tran board. He noted it may be a logistical challenge to provide forms to all district students by the time they return to school next fall, but said the districts are “thrilled” that C-Tran is expanding the program.

“We think it’s a great statement of support for young people in the community and clearly it has the potential to benefit many more students,” Hagley said.

Vancouver and Evergreen’s corresponding school boards will need to approve the agreement to begin providing expanded services. Evergreen Public Schools will consider the agreement at next 5:30 p.m. at Tuesday’s board meeting at the district Administrative Service Center at 13501 N.E. 28th St. The Vancouver school district will consider the agreement at its meeting at 5:15 p.m., Tuesday, June 27.