A new campus shuttle service — dubbed the Alternative Transportation Project — is the brainchild of Associated Students’ Commission on Disability Equality (CODE) seeking to offer rides for disabled students to and from classes as early as this quarter.
The project — spearheaded by CODE co-commissioners Steven Kwok, a third-year economics and accounting and French double major, and Brandon Lee, a fourth-year political science major — is the result of a decades-long advocacy process for students with disabilities that began with the original Commission on Disability Access (CODA) founded at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the 1990s.
“I got involved with CODE because I saw that the much-needed conversation was not being had about students with disabilities and their experiences on campus,” Kwok said in an email to The Bottom Line.
The student-run and student-funded Alternative Transportation Project puts that conversation into action by adapting the model used by A.S. Recycling Riders to fit the needs of students with disabilities. For the upcoming spring and fall quarters, CODE will place three student-driven pedicabs to operate on routes similar to those used by A.S. Recycling Riders, sticking to sidewalks with ample space throughout campus. In this way, the organization hopes to reduce the stress of getting to class on time for all students with disabilities, including those who are temporarily disabled by minor injuries that impede walking.
With the aid of the Disabled Students Program and consent of UCSB administration, the Alternative Transportation Project moved forward to enlist the additional support of the UC Police Department and is currently gathering data to assess demand and structural support for this service. The hours of service, drop-off and pick-up points, and official operating routes will be finalized during spring quarter once data is properly assessed.
The Alternative Transportation Project, like all of CODE’s work on campus, addresses a broader mission: increased disability awareness, empowerment and accessibility for students with disabilities and opportunities for those students to network with one another.
With the new pedicab service visible to individuals of all ability levels on campus, CODE hopes to transport both people and ideas as it works to raise awareness and inspire discussion on issues facing the differently-abled community.
A Disabilities Awareness Week is scheduled for spring quarter, and the group hopes to include all organizations that address disabilities, self-care or mental health in a week-long campus dialogue with guest lecturers and workshops. CODE plans to approach groups such as Active Minds, Eating Disorder Awareness and Support, the UC Students Association “#HowAreYou” campaign and UCSB Health and Wellness.
“In conjunction with awareness events on campus,” Kwok wrote, “the Alternative Transportation Project will help to sustain a culture of student initiative and inclusive, innovative environments here at UCSB.”
To learn more about weekly meetings and how to get involved, visit https://code.as.ucsb.edu/.