Thumbs up: Free bus rides for vets, students in Sonoma County

For at least one more year, college students and veterans can ride buses for free in Sonoma County. It’s a nice perk for students who can avoid hunting for parking in the crowded lots at Santa Rosa Junior College and Sonoma State University, it’s a small thank you for people who served in the military, and it also reduces the number of cars on local streets. Everyone benefits from that.

The program started in 2015, and more than 175,000 bus trips are projected for 2017, according to the county, which pays about $280,000 of the $330,000 cost of free rides for college students. Sonoma County supervisors want the colleges to pick up more of the cost, and SRJC students, who comprise much of the ridership, may be asked to approve a $10-a-semester fee to help. That would still beat regular bus fare or parking meters for daily commuters.

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