Each spring and winter recess, students struggle to find cheap and convenient transportation when they return home. Unlike other schools, UR has not managed to find a successful way to provide affordable and easy transportation during major breaks.
SUNY Binghamton University, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Cortland University and Cornell University among a handful of other upstate universities charter buses from a private company called College Express to New Jersey, New York City and Long Island at prices as low as $25. The Office of Parking and Transportation and the Students’ Association Projects and Services Committee can look into this, as well as any other possibilities, as a cheaper option to the $92 fare of the current bus service, the newly started My Bus Home program.
For the first time this year, a third party charter bus company coordinated with the Office of Parent Relations to provide buses to New England and New York City at prices that ranged depending on the number of students who signed up in advance. While other schools have provided this service successfully and cheaply, UR is only now seeing its first successful bus launch to New England this Friday.
In the winter, My Bus Home canceled two buses leaving from UR because of a lack of interest in the event. In part, the cancellation occurred because information about the program was not publicized until late November. By the time the service was fully made public, most students had already made other traveling arrangements in order to return home.
Another system that has been set up is Road Trip, an online ride request and offer board for car pools to and from a given city during spring and winter break. However, the system is underused and often consists of a disproportionate amount of ride requests to offers.
For both My Bus Home and Road Trip, the Students’ Association, which was already advertising the programs, can take charge of better publicizing what transportation opportunities UR has early in the semester and often. One likely reason for the meager interest is simply that students are unaware of their options.
If the University sees a need to make students’ travels easier and less expensive, it should consider providing stronger support for such programs. Once they are made available, it is the SA’s responsibility to get the information out to students in an effective manner.