Carpool’s marketing crashes program

Weak advertising forces closure of ride sharing effort

By Reggie Santini, Staff Writer

The student carpool program at Contra Costa College will be shut down because of a lack of advertisement.

“Parking is such a premium for students,” Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said. “If more students do not participate we will have to close the program.”

The program is currently on the verge of closure, with no students participating and 15 reserved parking spots going to waste.

With no marketing strategy behind the program, students don’t even know it exists.

Last semester saw a huge decrease in use of the carpool program from when it first launched in the 2015 fall semester.

No students signed up for the program during the 2016 spring semester, King said.

The reserved parking lot for students using the carpool program was unused during the day until 4 p.m.— where it becomes a regular parking lot.

King said even though campus officials expected a rise in use of the carpool program due to the construction taking up parking spots on campus, it stagnated.

Campus construction saw the closure of three different parking lots, Lot 1, Lot 4 and Lot 16.

Students were hard pressed to find parking in time for their classes. Because of the difficult parking situation students began parking in the reserved Lot 5.

It’s unknown if they did it on purpose, or just because they did not know it was a lot reserved for students using the carpool program King said.

CCC Police Services Lt. Tom Holt said, “Because of the lack of information on the carpool program—we did have to write some tickets to enforce the reserved parking spots.”

All the confusion surrounding the construction and the reserved parking ended up costing some students more money, but students were actively signing up during the programs launch in 2015 fall semester.

The program only has 15 spots, and only 8 of them were filled during that time Holt said.

CCC alum, and Editor-in-Chief for The Advocate, George Morin was one of the students who signed up for the program when it first opened.

“I only heard about it because I had to cover the Associated Student Union for The Advocate,” Morin said.

Despite the program being marketed to students through flyers around campus, applications are inside of the Student Life Office, only a few people on campus were aware.

“We sent emails through the InsitePortal to all the students. There are great benefits to signing up with the program,” former Student Life coordinator Erika Greene said. “A free parking pass, dedicated spot and a $50 dollar gas card.”

The program still does not have a strong enough marketing campaign its benefits aren’t being used by students.

After being contacted by an Advocate reporter, Marketing Director Brandy Howard refused to comment on the current marketing strategy to revive the carpool program and referred questions to Greene.

Greene said Howard worked briefly on marketing the carpool program toward the end of last semester.

“No one so far has worked on (marketing the carpool program since then),” she said.

Parking permits are $48 and parking is hard to find with the increase in enrollment, and the current seismic trenching has closed off half of Lot 6 until October, and Lot 1 until November.

“People like being in their own space with their own stuff. Not all the student’s schedules match,” Greene said.

Due to low numbers of students enrolling into the program, the Sustainability Committee has the carpool program on its agenda for its first meeting of the semester on Thursday at 7 a.m. in the R Building.