Excelsior Charter School students (left to right) Mateo Vega, Aubrey Ackerman and Hannah Upham can now ride VVTA’s Fixed and County Routes fare free.

Victor Valley Transit partners with Excelsior Charter Schools in the Victor Valley to offer fare-free transit for students.

Excelsior Charter School students now have a new transportation option that allows them free VVTA bus rides to and from school and other destinations in the Victor Valley through the end of this school year. Victor Valley Transit Authority announced this week that Excelsior Charter School joins the ranks of Options for Youth, Victor Valley College, and Cal State San Bernardino in subsidizing free rides to all its registered students. The six-month promotional program authorizes students enrolled in the following Excelsior Campuses: Victorville Main, Victorville North, Barstow, and Phelan; the opportunity to ride Victor Valley Transit Fixed and County Routes fare-free by simply presenting their current student ID to the bus operator upon boarding.

“The Excelsior and VVTA partnership allows our students to ride the regional bus network fare-free, and it is life-changing,” expressed Excelsior Charter School Superintendent Derek King. “Our agreement helps protect parents’ freedom of choice. Distant families no longer have the financial burden of transporting their child to school when Excelsior is their preferred educational setting. Even more, working and high school students attending college can now get to work and school free of charge to their families. Now, Excelsior Charter Schools will be more accessible than ever before due to the partnership with VVTA.” 

Also paramount in this partnership is giving more youth access to shared rides that reduce car traffic congestion at the entrances to the campuses. Additionally, it helps reduce traffic on local roads and improves the air quality in the process. 

“Many of our students’ parents work and struggle during business hours in providing rides to and from school,” acknowledged Phelan Campus Principal Michelia McDonald, “I have already received notification from students that will be utilizing this program as part of their day-to-day transportation. We are extremely thankful that our students have access to additional support and resources that they would otherwise not be able to receive consistently and in person.”

Fare-free rides for students is a significant benefit for schools that do not provide transportation services and is a valuable complement for those that do. For various reasons, some charter and public-school students live outside their neighborhoods or attend from outside the District. Free transportation transcends beyond education; it promotes the value of public transportation while providing additional opportunities outside school hours. For example, after-school activities, study groups, social interactions, and part-time jobs. 

“VVTA cares that the students of the High Desert have the opportunity to get the best education by partnering up with schools to provide more bus transportation opportunities free of charge to the students,” shared VVTA Board Chair and City of Victorville Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Becerra. “Not only does it provide more transportation options, but it teaches students the merits of using public transportation in our community.”

The Free-Fare Rides for Students Program comes at a lower cost to the school’s transportation budget and at no additional cost to the students or their families.  Excelsior students are already taking full advantage of this opportunity since the start of the program on December 17, 2022.