Sacramento Regional Transport (SacRT), the city of Sacramento and other areas within SacRT’s reach have partnered to give free regional transport to all students from kindergarten to 12th grade.

The program, “Ryde Free RT,” began Oct. 10 and will last at least until Sept. 30, 2020.

Its goal is to increase attendance in schools by offering reliable and affordable transportation, according to SacRT’s website.

The website says SacRT wants public transit use to become habitual for high school students, even after they have graduated. More use of public transport would take cars off the road, helping the environment and reducing traffic.

 The city has given SacRT $1 million for lost revenue. The basic one-way fare is $2.50.

Students use the program by placing a sticker on their ID card. Stickers are available in Country Day’s high school office, regional public libraries or SacRT’s customer service and sales center downtown (1225 R St.).

In an Oct. 22 Octagon poll of 118 high school students, only two said they regularly use public transport. Almost 18% said they use it on occasion, and 80.5% said they never use public transportation. Just over 91% said the Ryde Free program will not affect them.

Sophomore Jesus Aispuro, one of the two students who use public transport regularly, said he rides the bus in the morning because both his parents go to work.

“(My house) is about 11 miles away from school,” said Aispuro, who lives in South Sacramento. “It takes me about an hour to get to school by bus, and by car, it takes me 20 minutes.”

Aispuro said the program won’t affect his use. Before Ryde Free RT, he used a connect card paid for by Country Day.

A student who spoke on the condition of anonymity and who also uses it to get to school, said they ride the bus when their parents can’t drive them. It takes the student about 30 minutes to get to school by car and two hours by bus. They said the program won’t affect their  transportation habits.

Junior Kenyatta Dumisani, who lives in North Natomas, said he used the bus to get to school this summer for an internship at Country Day.

 He still uses public buses, trains and the light rail when needed, which won’t change due to the new program.

“It was difficult at first, but not anymore,” Dumisani said. “You get used to it as you memorize your route and times. It is definitely inconvenient in some regards. You’re running on someone else’s schedule, (and) if you miss a bus or train, you’re stuck.”

Freshman Savanna Karmue, who lives three miles from Country Day on Cottage Way, said she might start using public transport to travel to school. 

“I’ve never actually used public transport,” said Karmue. “I might start using it in the future to go to school because my parents don’t have to pay for it — it’s more efficient.”

Many students said they don’t need to use public transport because they have someone who can take them by car, and other students said they carpool.

Juniors Avi Krishna and Pragathi Vivaik, both of whom live in Folsom, carpool to school. Krishna takes turns with one other person and Vivaik with three other people. Both said they do it every day.

By Sicily Schroeder

Originally published in the Nov. 12 edition of the Octagon.

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