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The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

The Universal Transit Pass, a hidden gem for Los Rios students

Seth Henderson
A Sacramento Regional Transit light rail runs from Cosumnes River College to Watt and I/80 on the SacRT Blue Line. Light rails depart from the CRC station every 15 minutes between 5 a.m. and midnight on weekdays.

There’s a resource that most Los Rios students have already paid for and don’t use enough – yes, it’s the Universal Transit Pass, but is it a hidden gem students can use outside of school?

Students of the Los Rios Community College District pay a mandatory fee for the UTP during enrollment and besides getting you to and from school, the pass has other perks.

This is a resource that LRCCD and Sacramento Regional Transit are practically begging students to use based on the $3 per unit price tag, compared to the estimated value of a SacRT annual pass, reaching over $500 in rides. And no, that’s not a typo. The UTP permits unlimited rides on SacRT services for the spring semester until it expires on June 2 of this year. There is a maximum fee price of $36 and the pass is refundable.The pass is also available during the summer semester for $13.

Los Rios students voted to pass a contract extension for the UTP by way of Measure A in October, extending its benefits through 2028. I felt compelled to explore the different uses for the UTP and discovered it has potential to be any student’s new best friend.

Before I tell you how great the UTP is, I have to warn you of its limitations regarding destination, frequency and personal space.

If you’re looking to travel south of Cosumnes River College in anything other than a bus, then you’re out of luck because the light rail stops there, but there are projects in place by the City of Elk Grove to expand the light rail further south, according to the SacRT website.

Another downside of having to use public transit is that you may have to become an early bird because what used to be a 30 minute drive for me to get to CRC turned into a 90 minute adventure due to the multiple stops along the way.

As for your personal space, you might have to forgo sitting alone from time to time, but there is plenty of standing room if you can hold on tight.

Once you’ve crossed those three things off of your list, then there are nothing but great things to say about having the UTP and you’re going to wonder why you haven’t been using one sooner.

We’ve talked about saving money and getting to school on-time, but we haven’t talked about how many other places you can go in the greater Sacramento area with the UTP, while also saving money on gas, parking and other vehicle maintenance.

If you’ve ever driven to Downtown Sacramento to dine out, meet with friends or even go to a Kings game, then you’ve had to deal with the congested and costly parking situations. When there is no street parking, I’ve paid as little as $20 just to park for a couple hours, so a $36 unlimited-use pass is already paying dividends by your second visit to downtown.

Not only are there no parking costs while using the UTP, but there is no need to find a spot, get gas, parallel park, or squeeze in between two horribly parked cars. This minimizes the risk of an accident, saves time during your trip and allows people to experience their surroundings instead of hyper-focusing on the crowded road.

You don’t have to worry about your car breaking down or an Uber costing too much since the UTP has you covered with unlimited use. This also means students don’t have to worry about buying a vehicle and having car payments every month or share a vehicle with family members.

Using SacRT has shown me parts of Sacramento I otherwise would not have discovered had I driven. I could also spend more time exploring my destination and participating because I wasn’t worried about when my parking meter expired.

Between the buses and light rail, there are enough routes to get nearly anyone where they need to go in the greater Sacramento area.

The UTP is more than just a way to and from school. It can be a tool to help students explore their local area for recreational activities or complete errands that would require traveling beyond their financial means.

I’m not only advocating for the UTP, but I’m also advocating for public transit. It’s a great way to interact with your fellow Los Rios students and the community around you.

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About the Contributor
Seth Henderson
Seth Henderson, Editor in Chief
Seth Henderson is the Editor-in-Chief for The Connection. He decided to join the Connection because he wants to become a reporter and broadcaster, hoping to work in Las Vegas for the Raiders and the NFL. He was grew up in the Bay Area and is passionate about journalism, music and sports.

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    CharJan 25, 2024 at 10:10 am

    Well said! Makes me want to go try it!