HCC and METRO enhance transportation options for students

Aug 12, 2016

Every month Houston Community College (HCC) Digital Communication student Scott Almaguer makes financial decisions. Every month, those decisions revolve around his ultimate goal-- completing his studies. But in order to get to class and to work, Almaguer has to ride the bus.

“As a regular user of METRO for almost four years, it has become my main means of transportation,” said Almaguer. “A budget is one of the things I worry about the most as a student.”

Helping students like Almaguer is the backbone of a partnership between HCC and METRO, which was solidified during a signing ceremony at the HCC Central campus, just blocks away from the bus and rail lines. Ride Smart, is a cost-effective, convenient way for students to travel with a Student METRO Q® Fare Card.

The card offers all full and part-time HCC students a 50 percent discount, five free trips after every 50 paid trips, and free transfers. HCC and METRO have also made it possible for students to get a Student METRO Q® Fare Card right on campus.

“It’s not only a vision of helping students today; it’s also a vision of changing a mindset on Houston public transportation,” said Dr. Cesar Maldonado, HCC chancellor. “This is a change in the culture.”

Emphasizing the pressures college students go though, Tom Lambert, METRO president and CEO, categorized this partnership as a monumental step in their advancement.

“Transportation is a ladder of opportunity for people. When you get transit, you get education,” said Lambert. “Allowing METRO to do the driving gives students more time to study and focus on the quality of education.”

HCC is the first and only community college in Houston to have such an agreement with METRO. Just this week, nearly 200 HCC students picked up a Student METRO Q® Fare Card at the student services office. The cards will be available at 15 campuses across the district before the fall semester begins.

Jim Robinson, CFE, first vice chair, METRO Board of Directors, took agriculture courses at HCC and strongly supports this initiative.

“That clearly helped me to recognize that transportation to get where education is available is critically important,” said Robinson.

“Students tell me that one of their biggest challenges in completing their degrees is transportation,” said Dr. Adriana Tamez, HCC Board of Trustees Chair, District III. “This program is all about access to education-- making it easier and affordable for students to get to class.”

Scott Almaguer is enjoying the discounted rides for now, but plans to have a car someday.

“When that day happens, I will have HCC and METRO to thank.”

For more information about the Ride Smart program and locations to get Student METRO Q® Fare Cards, visit hccs.edu/metro.


Check out ABC 13's coverage

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