The successful North County Transit District program that offered reduced fares for students at Cal State San Marcos, Vista Adult School, Mira Costa and Palomar colleges will be ending this month, the agency said.
The program was made possible through a grant by the California Low Carbon Transit Operations Program and the grant fund is running out. The program lowered the $59 monthly Sprinter/Breeze pass by $25 for students.
The purpose of the LCTOP is to lower carbon emissions in the state through various programs. It is funded from state carbon credit sales in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
“Getting students out of cars and onto transit is not just a benefit to our congested roads here in North County, but also a contribution to having cleaner air in this beautiful region,” NCTD’s executive director Matthew Tucker said.
The grant's fare subsidy program also helped the district to maintain ridership for the Sprinter.
While the $25 discount from the grant will no longer be available, the district will still offer its usual $10 discount to students, NCTD spokesman Eric Sawyer said.
Students may also qualify for additional discounts through their schools.
The district will now use the LCTOP funds to buy electric buses to help the region meet emission reduction goals.
"By 2020 we expect to have sufficient funds to be able to purchase six electric buses," Sawyer said.
LCTOP allows agencies to roll over the funds they receive for up to three years.
Currently, more than 80 percent of NCTD's 163-bus fleet use natural gas, which have lower emissions than diesel or standard gasoline buses, but electric buses have zero emissions.
“Electric buses will be a great addition to NCTD’s current fleet,” Tucker said. “The eventual transition to an all-electric fleet is our goal and this is a great step in the right direction.”