The Public School System’s Cooperative Education Program on Tuesday received 300 transportation vouchers from the Commonwealth Office of Transit Authority  to support the school district’s Saipan co-op students who are participating in an on-the-job training program. In this photo, Special Assistant for Public Transportation Alfreda Camacho Maratita, center, presents the vouchers to acting Commissioner of Education Eric Magofna, Board of Education Chairman Andrew L. Orsini, PSS Senior Director for Student Support Services Dr. Yvonne R. Pangelinan, Co-op Program Coordinator Brandon Nicolas and PSS communications and media coordinator Randee-Jo Barcinas-Manglona. Also in photo are Office of the Governor’s TJ Manglona and COTA’s Merrick Cabrera, Ernie Bell and Amalia M. Magofna. 

(Office of the Governor) — 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 or Co-Op program.

COTA’s vision is that “Transportation is always the link, and never the barrier, to accessing training, employment, childcare, education, and related destinations.”

Special Assistant for Public Transportation Alfreda Camacho Maratita stated that “With 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.”

Merrick Cabrera, a COTA Transit Safety Officer and former Co-Op program participant, expressed how beneficial these free rides will be for students like him. “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 our 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. Our high school students in the Co-Op program will be able to avail themselves 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  664-2690 one to two days in advance to schedule your desired reservation. Hours of operations on weekdays are from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends /holidays from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. 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.

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