Every night Metro clears its trains at the 1st Street platform in Downtown Long Beach. Residents and business owners say it's contributed to the city's growing homeless population. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

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All Long Beach City College students will be able to ride for free on Long Beach Transit, Los Angeles Metro bus and rail, and multiple other systems across the county during a pilot program that runs through July 2023, the college announced Thursday.

Previously only full-time students were able to ride on Long Beach Transit buses for free. The new Metro GoPass will extend to all students who are enrolled for the spring semester regardless if they attend in person or take online classes.

The partnership with Metro will allow students to access the A-Line, formerly known as the Blue Line, and the rest of Metro’s rail system. It will also include free rides on other networks in Culver City, Montebello, Norwalk, Torrance and Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus.

“LBCC recognizes that for some of our students, sometimes just getting to class is a barrier, particularly for students who do not have reliable transportation to and from campus,” said LBCC Superintendent-President Mike Muñoz said in a statement.

“The ability for all of our students to travel across several transportation systems will make a huge difference for our students. Not only will they be able to travel to class, but they could also travel to work or visit family in the greater Los Angeles area.”

The announcement comes at a time when national gas prices have hit an all-time high, with Los Angeles-area residents paying on average over $5.50 per gallon. Long Beach Transit spokesperson Arantxa Chavarria said that schools have an option to sign up for a one-year or two-year pilot program for the GoPass.

LBCC is one of 11 community colleges participating in the program. There are over 40 school districts and charter schools also part of the GoPass program with the Long Beach Unified School District still in the process of joining, according to Metro.

LBCC students will have to login to the school’s portal to access an application for the GoPass, which the college’s website says will be mailed to students within 10-14 days. The existing “Strong Beach” bus passes that some students may have used in the past were deactivated last month.

Once they have their GoPass students need to go to the Metro website to activate them.

Editors note: An original version of this story said the pilot program would end in July 2022 but it will run through June 2023. It has been updated with more accurate information from Long Beach Transit. 

Long Beach Transit to consider giving students free rides

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.