On March 25th, St. Joseph transportation planner Ty Nagle and general manager of the Saint Joseph Transit Mary Gaston discussed public access for students on campus in Eder.
The meeting was held to speak about what was researched from the data derived from the 2012 transportation study.
The study showed that most of the students at Western do not take advantage of the St. Joseph transit because of their lack knowledge of how the system works.
Nagle noted that students felt that the transportation system was not efficient enough.
“I think that the bus system is most significant to students because the population that comes from out of the city are not used to the transit system here in St. Joe,” Nagle said. “Because different cities kind of have different densities that will support the transit system better or worst.”
The study also showed that students would prefer to take a cab because they did not know where the bus was coming from, as well as the price.
Nagle noted that students would only have to pay 50 cents for bus fare, which is cheaper than most cabs that charge seven to eight dollars a ride.
“The transit operational review that was completed last year looks at how we can facilitate the students better through where they want to go, where they are coming from, and how the system works,” Nagle said.
“A big thing we found was an informational site of our route deviation and how students are actually able to use that more towards taxi services that can come to your door,” Nagle said. “We know through weather conditions and athletic injuries, walking across campus is not that viable.”
Nagle and Gaston brought up the possibilities of starting a student fee for students that would guarantee them a bus pass.
Gaston wants to make sure that students and staff at Western are on the same page when it comes to transportation. She noted that this was the reason the recent transportation study is important.
“We want to implement as much as the study recommendations that were made from the study that they did last year,” Gaston said. “We want to work with the plans the university has. Its important that we get a lot student feedback as well.”
Gaston said that she has not received a lot of complaints from students but people in general would like to have frequent service.
Mike Ritter is the Disability Services Coordinator and the transportations for kids with disabilities were a strong concern for him.
“We have several key parking lots on campus that are highly competitive which means that there is only a few spots there that people compete to get,” Ritter said. “We can’t change everything. But in the areas where we can, I think it is imperative to change what you can and when you can.”
Ritter acknowledges that he felt it was important to have a meeting like the transportation meeting because it shows that the university is focused on all students, including ones with disabilities.
“We just need to put all of our intelligence and enthusiasm behind these projects, and hopefully we can please everyone.”