GO RIO fees pass in the ASRHC Spring Ballot

Written by Victor Lozano, Staff Writer

Students voted for two GO RIO fees that will now affect bus users and non-bus users in the next two years on the Associated Students of Rio Hondo College Spring Election Ballot.

GO RIO is a program offered by Rio Hondo and gives students access to a Transit Access Pass card to use with certain bus lines. Students are eligible to be in the program if they have 12 units or more, no outstanding debts or holds with the college and sign a pledge form to maintain 12 units throughout the semester.

Spring election voting took place from April 25 starting at 8 a.m. and ended on April 28 at 11:45 p.m. on the AccessRio website and contained the two other GO RIO measures. GR16 and GR16-PT were also a part of the Associated Student elections.

Measure GR16 requires that students, except for those exempt, pay a $9 fee per semester for GO RIO transportation and was placed in order to keep the GO RIO program going for the next two years.

The fee would also cover the cost of TAP cards for all full-time students who plan to use the card in the next two years.

The next measure, GR16-PT, extends the GO RIO services to part-time students enrolled in nine to 11 units who select to be in the GO RIO program for an opt-in fee of $135 and want to use a GO RIO TAP card.

The GR16-PT measure will begin in the Fall 2016 semester and will continue until the end of the Spring 2018 semester.

While not many students were aware of such measures being passed, GO RIO users were told in an email sent by Russell Castañeda-Calleros, the Director of Government and Community Relations, information that pertained to the measures. He also addressed some frequently asked questions.

The revenue generated from the fees will pay Metro, Foothill Transit, Norwalk Transit, Montebello Bus Lines and the LA County Sunshine Shuttle the money they need to provide access to the GO RIO users.

According to Castañeda-Calleros, it costs about $210,000 to cover GO RIO expenses for full-time students and $557,000 to cover for part-time students in one school year.

Castañeda-Calleros added that it benefits non-GO RIO users because it is an “investment” for cleaner air, less congestion on and off campus, reduced demand for parking and maximizes access for their GO RIO peers.

Students can be exempt from the $9 fee and qualify for a waiver as long as they are only enrolled in online classes, Summer Session, study abroad programs, continuing education courses, Administration of Justice/Fire advanced training courses, or are students who are veterans and/or dependents of veterans, eligible for Board of Governors Waiver and AB 540.

These waivers will not be automatically recognized in the system, so students in the aforementioned categories will have to apply for a waiver by contacting the Office of Government & Community Relations.

For more information regarding this topic, visit http://www.riohondo.edu/gcr/go-rio/, call (562) 463-7268 or visit the GCR office in L-401.