Options for Youth is joining the ranks! Victor Valley Transit announced this week that Options for Youth is the latest school to offer free rides for all their students, joining the efforts of Victor Valley College and Cal State University San Bernardino. The program, which began February 1, 2022, allows all students currently enrolled in any of their five locations in the Victor Valley to board any fixed route or county bus fare-free by simply presenting the bus operator with their current student ID.
“I am excited about the partnership between Options for Youth and Victor Valley Transit and grateful for their efforts in helping us to provide free transportation to our students,” stated Bryan Gillespie, Victor Valley Options for Youth Principal. Options for Youth is a FREE non-profit public charter school established in 1987 designed for students that desire a non-traditional learning environment to get ahead, graduate early, or to catch up if they have fallen behind. There are currently 1,700 students enrolled in the five Victor Valley Options for Youth locations, all of whom can already take full advantage of this program.
While many district area schools have school bus service in place, many charter schools do not, and if they do, parents are funding transportation programs costing upwards of $40 a month. VVTA’s Consolidated Transportation Services Agency (CTSA) Division looks to work with schools that don’t have student transportation services, such as Options for Youth. The relationship between Victor Valley Transit and Options for Youth began with VVTA’s Fare Media Program, which provided the school with a limited number of free passes each semester. However, the school’s needs turned out to be much greater than the program could serve. Subsequently, VVTA presented Options with a program offering free rides for all currently enrolled students. This program comes at a lower cost to the school’s transportation budget while providing free fares to all students.
Providing High Desert students with free and equitable transportation that supports student learning is paramount to Victor Valley Transit. “We are thrilled to support education and promote a program that helps our Victor Valley students and our commitment to the community,” stated VVTA Board Chair Joy Jeanette. “This program will improve attendance, ease the burden for parents, and increase mobility in the Victor Valley.”
Bryan Gillespie agrees. “This partnership will help us to provide equity to some of our students with the greatest need and allow more of our students the opportunity to succeed in their educational goals.”
Victor Valley Transit continues its efforts in breaking transportation barriers for students in advancing their education and is committed to partnering with more schools in the valley area to join the program, which commenced with Victor Valley College in 2013 and added CSUSB in 2021.