By Jeffery Patterson
MSJC student and reporter for the MSJC student newspaper The Talon
Mt. San Jacinto College student Robert Venegas smiled as he received the iPad he won from the Riverside Transit Agency’s recent ridership contest and knew right away what he would do with it.
“I’m giving it to my father who just had open heart surgery,” Robert said. “This is the first thing I’ve ever won. My father deserves it because he postponed his surgery in order to make it to my high school graduation.”
The RTA’s iPad giveaway contest for Mt. San Jacinto College students ran through the month of November. The contest was held to commemorate the flourishing Go-Pass and U-Pass programs that for six years have given students unlimited rides on RTA buses by simply swiping their school IDs, according to the RTA. The winner was selected randomly from the batch of student ID numbers collected during the month when MSJC riders swiped their cards.
The Go-Pass program at MSJC started when students voted in Spring 2011 on the program. For a $6 per semester fee, MSJC students can ride RTA buses anywhere.
Robert, who is majoring in music, was in his Theatre Scenic Design class on Nov. 26 when the announcement was made that he won the iPad. Robert said he rides RTA about four times a day, from school to work and back home.
“I like it because it is an inexpensive way to get around,” he said.
Brad Weaver, an RTA spokesman, says that a large portion of RTA’s riders are students.
“We have noticed the trend for students is not one bus to one place but multiple buses to multiple places,” Weaver said. “This is our way of celebrating and saying thank you to the students who ride the bus.”
Robert is among three community college students to win an iPad from RTA. The other winners are from Moreno Valley College and Riverside Community College, Weaver said.
RTA has experienced a month of record ridership in October with 944,662, and they are looking to break last year’s total record of 8.4 million boardings.