Carpooling program on brink of closure

By Mike Thomas, Staff Writer

Students at Contra Costa College are unaware of the carpool program on campus. It is on the cusp of ending because not a single student signed up for the program this fall semester.

The program was experimental last spring semester.  The program awards a $50 gas card per semester for signing up and participating in the program.

“We had eight people sign up for the program last spring semester,” Building and Grounds Manager Bruce King said. “No one has signed up this semester at all.”

Student Life Coordinator Ericka Greene plans to inform the students about the program via email and flyers. 

“I’m working on getting (the emails) out,” she said. “I expect people to start enrolling for fall (semester) when the emails, flyers and websites go out.”

The Sustainability Committee, which King is a part of, came up with the idea during one of its monthly meetings. A representative from 511 Contra Costa transit helped the program by providing in a $50 gas card for students who participate in the program.

“We had our sustainability meeting (on Sept. 3), and (we talked about) how can we get information out there,” King said.  “We had five good suggestions. One of them was we could use the ticker tape in the (Student Service Center) building.”

The Sustainability Committee came up with more ideas to get the program more exposure including putting the information up on the college website, and on the new signage that is on the corner of El Portal Drive and Campus Drive.

King said he has reached out to fine arts media department Chairperson Ellen Seidler to get information about the carpool program on the website after he noticed that the website had information on general parking permits, but not anything referring to carpooling.

“I even went to Ellen Seidler to see that she publishes the program on the college website,” he said. “If you go on the website and there is a section for parking — you see information about where to park, and how much a (general) parking permit is, but nothing about car pooling.”

King said the committee reached out to CCC Interim President Mojdeh Mehdizadeh for funding for fliers. CCC’s media design specialist Tim Gleason said he would design the fliers for the carpool program.

Students can pick up an application at the Student Life Center located in AA-109.

Students must submit the application to Police Services, along with proof of two student passengers that will be accompanying the driver.

All three passengers must be CCC students to qualify for the free carpool parking permit. While there are designated parking spaces for students who sign up for the program in parking Lot 5, adjacent to the Gymnasium, the permit still grants carpoolers the option to park anywhere on campus if the lot is full.

Most students, however, have never heard about the carpooling program at CCC.

One of the benefits from the program is the 11 parking spots located in Lot 5, which are reserved for carpooling cars only.

“There are plans to expanding the parking spaces if the program is successful,” King said.  “For the students that sign up, there are 11 available parking spots.

Student Nicholas Hayter said he wishes he would have known about this program earlier because he has a vehicle that can fit enough people and finding a parking place could be a little easier with a parking permit.

“I think it needs to advertised more, ” Hayter said. “It took me 45 minutes to find parking here, so I think this can help with parking for some people.”

Culinary arts major David Vidrine said he had no clue about the program and added that some of his classmates missed class because they don’t have a way to campus.

As of today, the program is on brink of being closed down after one semester of student use. King said the only way to prevent the program from shutting down is if students sign up for program and take advantage of the free $50 gas card.

King said he knows every college student wants free money.

“Students get a $50 gas card per semester,” Greene said. “It is to help encourage get through the process, and serves as a thank you for participating in the program.”