College students in Southern California would love to use public transportation but end up driving their cars due to what they see as a lack of viable transit options, according to a survey released Thursday by Metrolink.
Ninety percent of the college students who took part in the survey said they would consider using public transit instead of driving if it were reliable, affordable, convenient and safe, but 69 percent said their personal vehicle best meets their needs.
The survey and other transportation issues are set to be the focus of a forum on Friday sponsored by Metrolink, Cal State Los Angeles student leaders and the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State LA.
“The stakes are high for everyone in the region,” said Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, who is scheduled to participate in the forum and is chair of the Assembly’s Select Committee on Regional Transportation Solutions. “Millennials are the largest population group and how they get around can have a huge impact on traffic and the environment, especially, if we can steer them out of their cars. Their comments are critical as decisions are made about operating transit today and preparing for the future.”
Nearly 600 college and university students from throughout the region responded to the survey, and according to Metrolink, they were largely working-class students, with two-thirds having annual incomes less than $30,000.
When asked what features they deem important for transportation, the survey found that 76 percent cited modes that were environmentally responsible, and 86 percent wanted transportation to be stress-free.
“Students tell us that public transit is an option, if it works for them,” Metrolink CEO Art Leahy said. “Transit operators have to seriously consider issues like cost, schedules and safety. It’s good to hear what they have to say because the decisions made today will affect them for decades.”
The survey also found that the students, like their parents and others, commute long distances, with 45 percent commuting 41 minutes or longer from home to school.
The full results of the survey can be found at www.metrolinktrains.com/studentsurve. The Student Mobility Forum is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. Friday at Cal State Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive.