Cañada College Launches Student Shuttle in East
seeks to boost higher education access to underserved communities
Students board the Cañada
College shuttle bus on the morning of Aug. 15, 2018. The new, free service
takes students and staff to the Redwood City campus from East Palo Alto in an
effort to increase access to a college education. Photo by Sue Dremann.
A new pilot shuttle bus to help
students and employees from East Palo Alto commute to Cañada College in Redwood
City launched on Wednesday at full capacity, requiring operators to call for an
The shuttle service, which aims to
make a college education more accessible to the underserved communities of East
Palo Alto and east Menlo Park, is an attempt to increase enrollment of economically
challenged students and staff.
The service has rolled out in
conjunction with the college's 50th anniversary, Cañada officials said.
The shuttle offers free, direct
service between East Palo Alto and the campus. The service is open to East Palo
Alto, Menlo Park and Belle Haven students, faculty, staff and community members
who utilize on-campus services. It is also available to people attending sports
games, performances or other college events.
"The intent is to increase
enrollment and support residents who wouldn't normally have access to get to
the college. We have received requests from East Palo Alto and Menlo Park
communities to launch direct service to the college and the feedback, since
announcing the launch, has been extremely positive," Cañada College
spokeswoman Megan Rodriguez Antone said in an email.
"We recognize that many San
Mateo County residents experience a number of financial hurdles to live here
and we believe that an education should not be one of them. The launch of our pilot
shuttle program will provide residents with direct access to the college,
saving time and money," she said.
At 7 a.m., East Palo Alto City
Councilman Larry Moody joined 13 students who boarded the brand-new shuttle,
which still had that "new car" smell, filling it to capacity. An
additional 11 students boarded the overflow bus at 8 a.m. In addition to
enrolled students, youth from East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy attend programs at
Cañada. There are a number of evening students who work full time in the day
and can now take advantage of the shuttle's evening and night service,
Rodriguez Antone said.
Fresh from its early-morning,
round-trip route, the bus returned to pick up more students at 9 a.m. Those
boarding said they were thrilled to have the service.
"This is helping us. We have
to take two (public) buses and it takes three hours to get to class," said
freshman Edgar Perez. "Also, it costs more to take the regular bus. I
spend $4 a day on bus service. My family is low-income, so it just helps everybody
-- me and my family. I'm sure there's a lot of other people like me."
Perez said he is a big sports fan.
He can now go to sporting events and take part in activities at the college --
participation in college life that he might not have been able to afford
otherwise if he had to pay for a bus. He also takes part in other offerings
such as the Dream Center, a resource center and safe space for undocumented
students and their allies.
Adilene Perez, who had no relation
Edgar Perez, said before entering the shuttle that she regularly took two
public buses to get to her college classes Monday through Thursday. She spent
about $65 a month by using a bus pass. She traveled more than four hours a day
round trip to get to her classes.
"I take four buses a day. It
takes me about an hour to get to Redwood City and about 35 to 45 minutes to get
from Redwood City to Cañada. The longest I've spent on the bus was three hours
(one way). The shuttle is really helpful. Now it will take me there in a
half-hour. I can sleep in and I don't have to get up at dawn," the
sophomore and criminal justice major said.
The shuttle service is one of three
programs designed to help give students access to a college education. Cañada's
Promise Scholars Program covers tuition and fees for the first year of college
and offers a $700 book voucher; its SparkPoint Center provides financial
literacy and a food pantry to all San Mateo County residents, Rodriguez Antone
The bus runs hourly Monday through
Thursday, from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Pickup begins in East Palo Alto at 994 Beech St. and drops riders off in front of
the college's Main Theatre at Building 3.
The pilot program will run through
Dec. 31. Rodriguez Antone said the shuttle will be evaluated and its schedule
will be adjusted according to riders' needs. Shuttles could be added at
additional locations, including at JobTrain in Menlo Park, where the college
offers some programs, she said. The service is a collaboration between Cañada,
Oxford Day Academy in East Palo Alto and Mosaic Global Transportation.
Additional information on the
shuttle and its schedule can be found at canadacollege.edu/shuttle.
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Posted in: Featured, Shuttle, About Cañada