CVAG funds bus line from Desert Hot Springs to COD

CVAG funds bus line from Desert Hot Springs to COD

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, Calif. - Kenda DeCastro of Desert Hot Springs became tired of commuting two and a half hours each way to get to her classes at College of the Desert.

"You can go to Las Vegas in that time and I had to do that every day on the bus," DeCastro said.

So this semester she enrolled only in online classes just to avoid the draining drive on the bus.

"You start here and get off and wait for another bus, you go and connect to another bus and there's waiting times and walking distances," she described her tiring trips.

DeCastro did all that carrying up to 30 pounds of textbooks, and the toll of the trip began to weigh heavily on her life. It even affected her grades.

"I didn't have enough hours in the day to study, sleep and do the things I needed to do when you have five hours travel time a day," she said.

Sunline Transit wants to make it easier for people like DeCastro to get to school and back, so it applied for a grant through the Coachella Valley Association of Governments, which jumped on board to help.

"We've allocated a $1.5 million to Sunline Transit in order to provide this high speed bus service between Desert Hot Springs and College of the Desert," said Tom Kirk, executive director of CVAG. The money comes from federal funding CVAG received.

The new daily service, set to begin in 2015, will provide four buses each morning and afternoon to significantly reduce travel time.

"That trip will be cut in half to one hour," Kirk said. "It's a big deal for people living and working in Desert Hot Springs."

"I think that's fabulous," said DeCastro when we told her the news. She said it can't come soon enough.

And for prospective students like Mickey Benavidez, also of Desert Hot Springs, it's giving her the drive to go finish her studies.

"I was like maybe let me go back to school, and now hearing that it may be a little easier it's going to make a huge difference," Benavidez said.

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