Campus’ new ride

Skyline transit-to-campus shuttle en route to reality

Skyline students who commute to and from Daly City may see an easier commute in the future, thanks to approvals for a new shuttle from the President’s Council of Skyline College.

The shuttle comes as part of what the President’s Council calls the “Last Mile Transportation Initiative.” The “Last Mile Transportation Initiative” is based on the results of the Skyline Transportation Survey, which looks at factors such as the ways that students get to school or where students commute to Skyline College from. The shuttle is currently planned to be free for students, and the President’s Council is looking at different transit agencies to help them fulfill this plan.

The “Last Mile Transportation Initiative” has been in the works ever since Summer of 2013, according to a minute from a joint meeting between the district and the City of San Bruno on July 9, 2014. In this minute from the meeting, President’s Council member Cindy Abbott cited that Skyline College is more than a mile away from most major transportation hubs, and that many students who take public transportation usually take 45 minutes to an hour getting from a BART station to campus, and that BART stations are four to seven miles away with limited bus service, so a main focus of the initiative was to make the commutes easier of students that are already commuting to Skyline College.

“Transportation to college is an access issue,” Cherie Colin, director of marketing, communications and public relations for Skyline College said in a statement on the matter. “Our mission is to make Skyline College accessible to anyone who wants to pursue higher education and part of that mission is realized by keeping transportation costs for students low.”

“I think they might be spending more of their time here, encouraging them to study more with groups of friends,” Skyline student Cerys Williams said in regards to the effect of a free shuttle.

Early childhood education major Kalia Chavez also weighed in on the effects of a free shuttle, in line with Colin’s statement.

“It would show them that Skyline cares enough to make things easier.” Chavez said. “They do care about their education and them succeeding.”

According to a presentation on “The Last Mile Transportation Initiative,” the largest amount of commuter students to Skyline College come from Daly City, with San Bruno and South San Francisco coming in second and third, respectively. The shuttle would not cover San Bruno due to the competition between SamTrans in providing local transportation. Currently, the Skyline Transportation Survey states that 18 percent of students at Skyline college said that they take public transport, between SamTrans and BART. Further according to figures from documentation on “The Last Mile Initiative,” a majority of students who take SamTrans to school arrive at 6am-9am, while the majority of students also leaves campus at noon-3pm.

As it currently stands, the shuttle seems to be aimed at Skyline students who consider travel time and convenience to be some of the most important aspects of public transportation, and will most likely have to address transport concerns for students such as the previously stated peak hours of 6am-9am for arrival and 12pm-3pm for departure, but there is also a larger amount of people who arrive at 9am to noon, as well as a surprising amount of people who arrive at 6pm-9pm, likely for students that take night classes.

Further according to Cherie Colin, the shuttle is funded mostly by two programs: the C/CAG(City/County Association of Governments), Local Transportation Services Program and the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (TA) Measure A Sales Tax Program. The C/CAG Local Transportation Services Program is under an initiative from the city of San Bruno called the Countywide Congestion Relief Plan.

A press release from the San Mateo County Transit Authority then indicates that both the TA and C/CAG have allocated $10 million in taxpayer money under a part of Measure A, which provides “one-half of one percent sales tax until December 31,2034.)

If everything goes to plan and the shuttle is further approved by the C/CAG, the shuttle should launch in August 2016, Colin commented. The current proposal for the shuttle says that the shuttle would run from 7 a.m to 6 p.m., to and from Daly City BART, arriving at Skyline every hour for its operating time. Colin also hopes that the shuttle would allow those who previously didn’t have access to Skyline College a chance to attend, while serving current students.