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Valley Metro Now Free for TSTC Students and Employees

Thursday, January 31, 2013
By TSTC Staff


HARLINGEN — For two years, Laura Amaro has been riding the Valley Metro Transit bus from La Feria to Harlingen to attend classes and work at Texas State Technical College.

Amaro lives in Mercedes but gets dropped off in neighboring La Feria where she hops on the No. 44 at 6:30 a.m. and makes her way to TSTC. Like most TSTC students, Amaro buys a 20-ride, $5 pass which lasts her a couple of weeks. In a semester, Amaro said she’ll dish out nearly $40 and with summer school thrown in the mix, Amaro’s paying about $120 per year on bus fare in order to get to school and finish up her degree in Digital Media and Design Technology.

“it doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but for a college student every penny counts,” Amaro said.

On Thursday, Amaro received news that will help alleviate some of her financial burden.

Starting Monday Feb 4, TSTC students and employees will no longer have to pay a fare to ride the Valley Metro Transit to and from campus or anywhere else VMT runs with proper identification. The previous fare was $.50 for students and $1.50 for adults.

Amaro said that although not a huge cost, the expense was still somewhat burdensome on a college student.

“It’s perfect,” Amaro said. “One of the biggest problems was that the bookstore would run out of passes and we’d have to go to the bus station (in downtown Harlingen) to buy the pass and they only take cash. This will be more convenient for everyone.”

According to TSTC Bookstore record, 20 single passes ($.50) and 48 20-ride passes ($5) were sold in January.

Amaro is slated to graduate this spring so she’ll take advantage of the free rides for only a few more months. But the lasting benefits are worth the renewed partnership between VMT and TSTC, Valley Metro Director Tom Logan said.

TSTC and VMT have been partnered for three years now and Logan said the new terms of the deal were a win-win situation.

“We’re very excited to continue this partnership,” Logan said. “Students get to college and we get riders on the bus. We’re in the business of transporting people and TSTC has a great community of students. It’s a great partnership for both of us.”

In the long run, the standing partnership between TSTC and Valley Metro could benefit the school if more students ride the bus.

TSTC Associate Vice President of Administrative Services Charles D. Smith said that a surface lot built on land owned by the college costs about $5,000 per spot. Smith also said parking garages cost about $20,000 per space.

For more information about Valley Metro bus routes, please visit the following page: http://www.tstc.edu/harlingenstudents/valleymetro

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