Carpool program lacks student participation

Sustainable alternative offers free campus parking, gas cards to carpoolers

By Marlene Rivas, Staff Writer

A new carpool parking program offered to students is already in danger of being shut down due to low participation from students one month into the spring semester.

Contra Costa College Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said if there is not sufficient participation from students, the first program of its kind on campus could be rapidly extinguished.

The carpool lot, which is currently in a trial run phase, is located in Lot 4 and has a remaining 11 spots available. Parking on campus has already become a hunt for students, and it may only worsen, King said.

Over the next six months there will be a surplus of carpenters, electricians and plumbers coming to campus to work on the construction of the new campus center. These workers will take up roughly 75 of the already scarce parking spots, he said.

He said he wants students to take advantage of this specialized parking. Buying into the program ensures a parking spot but it is free for those who choose to participate in the brainchild of the Sustainability Committee, a subcommittee of the Operations Council. 

As if that were not enough reason to try this new system out, carpool parking holders can also be given free gas to match their parking. Gas cards, provided by Contra Costa 511, a countywide transportation demand management program, will be given to the driver of each participating group. The cards can be used at any Arco gas station.

The card, which could be given each semester if the system proves efficient, carries an amount of $50.

“A little goes a long way”, interim ASU adviser Ericka Greene said. “This is especially true considering the current low gas prices.”

Greene said that money being spent on gas and parking permits could fund other costs in students’ lives, such as books and tuition. Considering that parking permit prices went up, it should really interest students.

Student Life has put another online notification out to students to inform them of the new carpool parking, and applications can still be submitted.

The only requirements are that each vehicle contain, and be enlisted with, a minimum of three passengers (driver included), and that all passengers be students. Applications for the remaining 12 slots are available at the Welcome/Transfer Center, Lt. Jose Oliviera said.

Once filled out completely, these applications can be submitted in AA-109. The best times for submission are Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays.

Greene said, “Students give each other rides anyway, so why not receive benefits for riding together.”

King said this could be especially useful for students in the same departments who may have similar schedules. This idea came forward with the idea to help the environment by lowering emissions from cars. 

The system will be evaluated at the end of the semester by the Sustainability Committee, which King chairs, to gauge if the program is worth continuing in the fall, he said.