Five years is a sign of a strong commitment and forward progress, as is the case with Tarrant County College’s (TCC) partnership with Trinity Metro to provide our students with access to safe and reliable public transportation. May 2023 marks the five-year anniversary of our agreement, which was developed through Trinity Metro’s EASYRIDE program. Through the program, TCC can offer our students rides on Trinity Metro’s public transportation services in Tarrant County simply by using their student IDs when they board. This opportunity enables them to reach classes on any of our campuses – and ride to other essential destinations.
At TCC, we truly believe in our “Success Within Reach” motto. We strive to remove any barriers that would prohibit a successful education experience. Back in 2017, our students told us that sometimes lack of transportation limited their ability to attend classes. That is when we began our discussions with Trinity Metro, and we worked together to find a solution that allowed for greater access to education within our community. We are even working with Trinity Metro to coordinate transportation to our spring 2023 commencement ceremonies at the Fort Worth Convention Center. TCC’s relationships with organizations such as Trinity Metro allow us to find solutions to problems with resources right in our backyard. I would encourage all those living, working, and going to school in Tarrant County to consider doing the same. We should all be collaborating to make this a world-class community. Education and public transportation are key to helping students prepare for future employment opportunities that will benefit our region and beyond. Our students are proof. Here are some of their stories.
Miketha Clater, a Business major at TCC South, has used Trinity Metro’s ZIPZONE service for 2.5 years. She describes it as “very helpful by helping me get to all of my TCC classes on time every morning.”
Annabella Escobar, who is studying Sign Language Interpreting at TCC Trinity River, started using Trinity Metro services because of TCC’s EASYRIDE program, which provides eligible students with a Student ID to use as a free pass. She uses TEXRail, Molly the Trolley and multiple bus routes daily.
“Having the option to use Trinity Metro has been a lifesaver for me,” she said. “I am a disabled student. I can’t drive because of my disability. Being able to use Trinity Metro has made me more independent.” Annabella says she is “able to go back to school and study something I love without having to worry about finding a ride.”
Another Sign Language Interpreting major, Danielle Mares, has used Trinity Metro since the fall of 2021. Services she uses include TEXRail, the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) and Trinity Metro buses.
“It’s been SO helpful!” she says. “I currently can’t afford a car, and I use (Trinity Metro) to navigate my way around Fort Worth from time to time. I use it to get to school, go to the grocery store, attend events, appointments, and of course, to come home after a long day.” The only people in her family with cars both work full time, so she often must find her own transportation. “I find the Trinity Metro services to be so helpful.”
For two years, Maya Nassibian has used Trinity Metro to commute to Fort Worth from Flower Mound. Using TEXRail to commute to Fort Worth Central Station, after which, depending on the weather, she walks to TCC Trinity River or takes a bus.
“It has been extremely helpful for me and my family,” she said. “All of the community colleges closer to my house are very expensive, whereas TCC is less expensive, even with out-of-county fees.” Although she now has a car, Maya still uses TEXRail to get to school to save on gas costs and wear and tear on her car, with the added benefit of doing her homework on the train.
For TCC students considering Trinity Metro services, Annabella says, “Just try it out! Learning to use public transportation is easy.” She recommends using Trinity Metro’s app, GoPass.
Danielle encourages her fellow students to use the resources available to them. “Start using public transportation!” she says. “It’s good for the environment, and it’s free!”
Since our partnership program began, TCC and Trinity Metro have provided 256,731 rides to students. Keep in mind, the pandemic shut down campuses from April 2020 until the fall semester of 2021. A high point in ridership came in October 2019, when students took 14,659 rides. Of course, the temporary closing of our physical campuses and all the other changes that the pandemic brought have been learning lessons for all of us. We want to travel differently, learn differently and approach our lives differently. Although there is much to consider on how we move forward, one thing remains the same: working together to achieve positive outcomes. Working with Trinity Metro made education possible for so many while alleviating the burden of paying for transportation. You wouldn’t believe how much some of our students’ lives were improved when they no longer had to worry about how they were going to get to campus. I started my educational journey at TCC, and I remember the challenges I saw among my classmates, which makes me that much happier to have found a solution to help students. I have been struck by the stories shared by current students, and their feedback validates the great decision we made five years ago.
Here’s to the next five years of partnership and many more.