Student Transit Fee-Supported Services
Student Transit Fees are typically assessed on students at colleges and universities to support transit service on campus as well as bus service to and from campus. Fees vary from a small amount for minimal service to significant investment for comprehensive transit service.
Transit services are usually locally developed and decisions on service levels are made by student government, campus parking services, and/or the local transit system. The opportunity for meaningful student involvement and decision-making is important in the operation and development of comprehensive transit service.
The benefits of good transit service are many. A well-designed transit system consists of campus circulator routes, city wide routes, and specialty services such as shopping shuttles, Safe Ride, shuttles to airports, AMTRAK, or intercity bus depots. Efficient and effective bus service connects students to class, job opportunities off campus, shopping, medical services and more.
Good bus service will reduce the transportation cost of attending school as well provide savings of Greenhouse Gas Emissions for transportation (Mother Nature thanks you for going easy on your environmental impact). A well-designed bus system will move students between their residential areas and their activities in a safe and efficient manner.
Circulator routes typically operate on campus and to destinations near campus (usually less than one mile from campus). Circulator routes allow for the efficient movement of students, faculty, staff, and visitors around campus where parking is often difficult, limited, and expensive. Circulator routes often connect a park-and-ride lot where students can park free and ride the free circulator to central campus. Circulators also may connect on campus or near campus residential areas with central campus.
Circulators may also connect multiple campuses or the campuses of two or more schools that have shared class capabilities. Circulators typically operate at five- to fifteen-minute intervals during the class day and wider intervals at night.
City-wide routes may be operated by the university bus system or by the local transit agency. City-wide routes usually connect off-campus student residential areas with central campus, or connect students with employment, shopping, medical, and recreational activities within the larger community. Many cities operate buses at 30- or 60-minute intervals, but some operate extra service during the typical academic year. Buses may also operate at 10- to 15-minute intervals in corridors with high student ridership.
Specialty services include shopping shuttles, Safe Ride services and connections to airports, AMTRAK, intercity bus depots, and larger nearby cities. Shuttles to large university events such as football games and new student orientations may also be included. Specialty services typically operate a few days or evenings per week or only at the beginning and end of each semester when there are large movements of students.
Safe Ride or late evening services have many different names (Safe Ride, Safe Bus, Nite Ride, Moonlight Express) but all share the same purpose of connecting on- and/or off-campus residential areas to commercial areas where students tend to congregate. Some services operate only on Friday and Saturday nights and some operate on Wednesday and Thursday nights as well. Service usually starts some time between 900pm and 1100pm and end usually between 200am and 400am.
Safe Ride services allow students to travel safely without the need for an automobile, and have prevented serious injuries, deaths, and driver’ license revocations. Safe Ride services are often viewed as the most valuable transit service that is supported by transit fees.
Examples of Safe Ride Systems:
Dual Bus Systems exist in some cities with the university providing some service and the local transit provider operating other services. Typically the university system operates circulator routes on campus and to destinations near campus. Some provide longer distance services throughout the community. Usually, student fees and other university revenue support the university system and the city system is supported by traditional transit funding services.
Examples of Dual Systems:
Single Bus Systems are operated in other communities where there is only one system that serves the university and the general community. Student fees provide partial support of the city-wide system and may also provide funding for services primarily focused on student needs, such as shopper shuttles and Safe Ride services.
Examples of Single Systems:
Each structure has advantages and disadvantages and the decision to operate one or two systems is locally determined. Effective bus service, that meets student needs, can be designed with committed student involvement and financing. If you need assistance in the development or improvement of bus service in your community, contact Bob at 515-233-2232 or email@example.com.