By Veronica Hurtado
Students commuting from the main campus to and from South Gate can no longer rely on the East Los Angeles College shuttle for free transportation.
According to Al Rios, ELAC South Gate Campus Dean of Academic Affairs, the shuttle was cancelled this fall due to the school’s budget cuts.
It cost the school about $58,000 to maintain the shuttle for two semesters, and given competitive interest in the school, it was decided to discontinue the shuttle services, Rios said.
According to Rios, an increasing number of ELAC students and faculty used the shuttle last fall.
Furthermore, the number of trips the shuttle made over the years, dwindled down from 16 daily trips to nine.
“The shuttle helped folks from here to get to campus to get additional services the center does not provide,” Rios said.
In addition, Rios said that the shuttle also gave students the opportunity to attend college and have a shot at becoming marketable for a job.
Students who used the shuttle saw other benefits to using its services.
Gabriella Lopez, South Gate Librarian and shuttle rider, said the shuttle service was open to all ELAC students. They didn’t need to be taking a class at the South Gate Campus to use the services.
Second-year student, Gabriela Bojorquez, used the shuttle during the spring semester and said that it gave her the opportunity to take classes at the two campuses at the same time.
Lilia Ledezma, a third-year student and South Gate resident, said, “ I’d use the shuttle to get from the main campus to South Gate.”
She would commute with her friend from her house to the main campus, but didn’t have a ride back home at times, so that would be when she used the shuttle.
Other students like Bojorquez, also saw the economic and time saving benefits to riding the shuttle.
She said that her commute to the South Gate campus without the shuttle would cost about $3 daily. If she had to take an extra bus to the main campus, she would have to spend $6 daily. It would also take extra time to travel.
The shuttle was free for students and made exceptions for people who were about to enroll, saving money and time, Rios said.
Given the current state of the school budget, Rios also said that it is hard to tell if the shuttle will come back into service. Bojorquez hopes they bring the shuttle back next semester for good.
Some students will not have the opportunity to ride the shuttle, like Stephanie Villanueva, a first-year student who is taking all her classes at the South Gate campus and eventually may have to purchase a public bus pass.
She said, “I would have loved to have the opportunity to take the shuttle because it would have given me the chance to take classes at the main campus.”