Students are riding to a better future for less with HCC and METRO
Mar 29, 2019
Thanks to a partnership with Houston Community College and a select few additional colleges, METRO officials note that HCC METRO Student Q Card student rides increased from roughly 6,000 in FY 2015 to 1 million in FY2018. The partnership allows students to get the discount fare card on campus.
“A well-educated, skilled workforce is vital to the success of our region, and METRO plays a key role by removing transportation barriers to education,” says Tom Lambert, President and Chief Executive Officer of METRO. “We know thousands more HCC students are riding METRO today using their student cards than in the past.”
Dr. Melissa Gonzalez, president of HCC Southeast, was part of what she calls a huge team that included HCC Chancellor Cesar Maldonado, PhD., P.E.
Gonzalez and METRO’s Director of Client Services Karen Marshall agree that Dr. Maldonado’s forward-thinking vision is what pushed the program through at HCC.
“What HCC brought to the plate was to take away the nine-hour study requirement to obtain the Q Card,” says Dr. Gonzalez. “Now, you only have to show that you’re a student—you can be taking one class, getting your GED, taking Continuing Ed classes, it doesn’t matter.”
In addition, Dr. Gonzalez says HCC allows students to get their Q Cards on campus from Student Services, at any time of the year, instead of having to order from METRO. The card provides students a 50 percent fare discount.
HCC and METRO have partnered for several years to link the community at large to HCC campuses.
“We have a long history with HCC,” says Marshall. “In 2004, when the [rail] Red Line was being built, Midtown wasn’t bustling the way it is now, but the HCC Administration Building was there, so we made sure we named that location the HCC Station.”
Marshall says a Midtown bus route, as well as METRORail, were intentionally placed with HCC’s Central campus in mind. Even many of HCC’s suburban campuses are covered by METRO routes.
“We want as many HCC students as possible to know they are just a METRO ride away,” says Dr. Gonzalez.