MSJC student wins an iPad by riding the bus

Lawrence Isom has been riding RTA buses for more than a year to get to class

RIVERSIDE, CA — November 17, 2014 — Lawrence Isom spends a lot of time on the bus.

Five days a week, he catches two different buses to get from his home in Valle Vista to Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) where he studies counseling and foreign language. On most bus trips, he spends time relaxing and chatting with friends while someone else does the driving.

Thanks to the Riverside Transit Agency (RTA), he has a new travelling companion: a brand-new iPad.

Lawrence’s name was randomly chosen last week as part of an iPad giveaway contest held for students at Mt. San Jacinto College. The contest was designed to commemorate the flourishing Go-Pass and U-Pass programs that are giving students across the county unlimited rides on RTA buses by simply swiping their school IDs.

“This is going to change the way I spend my time on the bus,” Lawrence said. “My commute just got a whole lot better.”

Since the Go-Pass program’s inception at MSJC in 2011, thousands of students have benefitted from unlimited rides on RTA buses to class, work, and other destinations. Many students say the unlimited rides have allowed them to save money and appreciate a whole new way of getting around. For students like Lawrence, riding on buses equipped with amenities such as free Wi-Fi, luggage racks and premium seating has made all the difference.

“It’s definitely changed my life,” said Lawrence, who rides Route 27 and CommuterLink Express Route 212 to get to class. “Students around here are so used to it, they don’t think twice about riding the bus.”

There’s no doubt that students are giving RTA’s ridership a major boost. During Fiscal Year 2014, RTA buses carried roughly 1.5 million student boardings. Those boardings were linked directly to the Go-Pass and U-Pass programs, which now encompass six partner schools: Cal Baptist University, La Sierra University, Moreno Valley College, Mt. San Jacinto College, Riverside City College and UC Riverside.

Judging by this year’s ridership at MSJC, the Go-Pass program is showing no signs of slowing down. Last month, RTA buses carried 32,000 boardings from students at both campuses, a 13 percent jump from this time a year ago.

“Students have sent a strong message that they value this program and are eager for it to continue,” said RTA Chairman of the Board Jeff Comerchero. “The Go-Pass program has exceeded our expectations and we are thrilled that a growing number of students are choosing RTA for their travel needs.”