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Mid-City CAN Blog

Mid-City CAN, schools implementing bus passes

Breakdown of Youth Opportunity Pass funding City Heights residents and Mid-City CAN members got a big win in June when the City Council voted to fund no-cost youth opportunity bus passes, but the work isn't finished.

The $200,000 from the City of San Diego, combined with $150,000 from the San Diego Unified School District will pay for passes for 250 students at Crawford, Hoover, Lincoln and San Diego high schools.

The Mid-City CAN Improving Transportation in City Heights Momentum Team now is working with the school district and San Diego's Metropolitan Transit System to finalize how the passes will be distributed and to evaluate whether the passes keep students safe, expand their economic opportunity and help them stay in school.

The hope is that it "can be a little more permanent and universal in the San Diego region," said Abdulrahim Mohamed, Mid-City CAN volunteer and ITCH team member.

City Councilmember Marti Emerald also said she believes the passes are just the beginning during a June 10 City Council meeting.

"I think that it could prove to be very successful and a model for the country," she said

The plan is for administrators at the four schools to notify pre-qualified students. Criteria include need for transit and school performance. If they are interested in the program, students will be required to attend an orientation and fill out a series of surveys. The passes will be pre-loaded onto special Compass Cards with the students' pictures that will be valid from Nov. 1 through June 30.

The evaluation group for the passes will include Strategic Community Consulting at UCSD and The Global ARC's Bill Oswald.

Oswald said that it would be important to measure many different impacts, since the passes wouldn't necessarily increase attendance.

Those behaviors typically start in middle school or earlier, Oswald said.

The biggest benefit may be increased opportunities and participation in extracurricular activities.

"Students get to go to different places in San Diego that they haven't gone to before," Mid-City CAN volunteer Mohamed said. "They have better access to job opportunities."

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