Surfer on beach

Convenience, savings with free rides

Otter ID serves as transit pass on all MST routes

It’s really a free ride.

Starting Jan. 15, Cal State Monterey Bay students enrolled in the spring semester, as well as faculty and staff members, will be able to ride all Monterey-Salinas Transit buses for free.

The UPASS program makes taking the bus more convenient than ever. No more fumbling for exact change – Otter identification card holders can just flash their IDs to the bus driver and take a seat.

Using the free service to get around can eliminate the costs of driving a car – gas, insurance, parking fee and tickets, vehicle maintenance – for an annual savings of $9,600, according to a national survey released this month by the American Public Transportation Association.

In addition to the convenience and money savings, using public transit spares the air from unhealthy pollutants. And if the closest transit stop is a bit far to walk, people can consider rolling there on a bike, skateboard or roller stakes.

MST logoMST lines 16 and 25 (the Otter Trolley) stop at 24 locations on main and east campus. Both lines go through campus every hour in each direction, and can be used for on-campus shuttling as well as to reach destinations in Seaside, Marina and Salinas. Until now, riders were able to board on campus for free, but had to pay the return fare.

Now, Otter ID card holders can use those routes, as well as take the bus to Big Sur, Carmel, South Monterey County, and as far north as San Jose – all for free.

The 2011 MST Rider’s Guide contains maps and schedules for all routes and is available at the Student Center, in Suite A of Mountain Hall, and online at www.mst.org and csumb.edu/trip.