The transportation collaboration between Amarillo College and the City of Amarillo, which lets anyone with an AC identification card ride city buses for free, just received a big monetary boost from the Kresge Foundation.
The College-City partnership was awarded a $75,000 grant for support and evaluation of the transportation program, which since it began on Aug. 15 has served approximately 2,200 AC passengers.
“This is wonderful news,” Cara Crowley, AC vice president of strategic initiatives, said. “These Kresge funds will be used to purchase a scanning tracking system for all city buses so we can track AC student usage.
“It also gives us the wherewithal to further support, market and promote our transportation collaboration.”
The grant is one of five college-transportation awards conferred Nov. 14 by Kresge, funding that will reach a total of 10 cities nationwide.
The grant earmarked for Amarillo College is administered by Temple University’s Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice and contains similar funding for two other cities – Los Angeles and New York City – for support and evaluation of ongoing community college public transportation initiatives there.
“These new partnerships show incredible promise in their place-based approaches to supporting student success while also increasing ridership on more sustainable and equitable transit options,” said Bethany Miller, education program officer at Kresge.
“We are eager to learn more about how collaborations between transit agencies and colleges can help more city residents access, persist and succeed in college.”
AC’s free-rides partnership with the City of Amarillo was launched last summer on the strength of a $25,000 start-up gift from Amarillo National Bank. The alliance provides free bus rides for anyone with an AC identification card – students and employees, alike.
City buses currently provide daily service to AC’s West, Downtown and Washington Street Campuses. Limited service to AC’s East Campus is currently being configured and will begin in January, according to Amarillo Transit Director Marita Wellage-Reiley.
However, the partnership is inclusive of all City bus routes and Spec-Tran services – not just the routes serving AC campuses. Just show the driver your AC identification card and you can ride anyplace the buses go, six days a week (no buses on Sunday).