The Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority is providing 300 complimentary transit passes for CNMI Public School System high school students on the island of Saipan who are currently enrolled in their Cooperative Education program, more popularly known as Co-Op.
Special assistant for Public Transportation Alfreda Camacho Maratita said the free passes will provide Co-Op students a reliable ride going to their workplaces where they intend to obtain on-the-job experience. At the same time, by teaching them how to use public transportation, they can become future transit users, she said.
these passes, it is our hope that the students will avail of our reliable, safe, and secure transportation to get them where they need to go for a successful on-the-job experience through the CNMI PSS Co-Op program and that these same students will learn the benefits of public transportation and become COTA’s future consumers,” Maratita said.
The Co-Op is an elective class available in all of the CNMI’s high schools. PSS works with private companies so that students taking this class are exposed to careers they might be interested in pursuing. It also allows them to gain on-the-job exposure and experience.
Merrick Cabrera, a COTA transit safety officer and former Co-Op program participant, expressed how beneficial these free rides will be for students. “During my time in the Co-Op program, there were instances where it would be difficult to find a ride to and from work, since I did not have a vehicle of my own. This partnership will help alleviate some of the worries that students might have about getting to work and encourage more students to participate in the program.”
Gov. Ralph DLG Torres is thankful for the support that this partnership will provide for CNMI students. “The assistance that COTA is giving our Co-Op high school students will offer opportunities for those who have difficulty in finding transportation and getting to their off-campus job training. With this, our high school students in the Co-Op program will be able to avail of the safe and reliable transportation that COTA provides.”
COTA’s transit operators and transit information specialists are Passenger Assistance Safety and Sensitivity-certified from the nationally recognized Community Transportation Association of America. COTA’s entire fleet is highly maintained and serviced for the safety of all those who choose to take public transportation.
Those who are not participating in the Co-Op program can make reservations by calling COTA’s One Call/One Click Transportation Information Resource Center at (670) 664-2690 one to two days in advance to schedule your desired reservation. Hours of operations on weekdays are from 6:30am to 10pm and weekends /holidays from 6:30am to 8pm. Rides are $3 each way for students (present valid student ID upon boarding), veterans and their families, children (ages 4-11), the elderly, and persons with disabilities. For general riders, rides are $5 each way. Children ages 3 and under are free.
For more information, visit www.cota.gov.mp. (PR/Saipan Tribune)