Tiger Transit, a proposed bus pass program through Mountain Metro Transit (MMT) that would allow students to use their Gold Cards as bus passes, could become a reality as early as the 2017-18 school year.
The initiative is one of four options for the distribution of the $18 per student increase in the student activity fee. A survey gauging interest, sent in an email from CCSGA, is available until March 6, and if enough students allocate $10 for Tiger Transit, students next year will be able to access the greater Colorado Springs area, through MMT, for free.
The bus routes will allow students easy access to downtown Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, The Incline, and King Soopers, as well as many other parks and open spaces throughout Colorado Springs. The proposal was initiated and organized by Ian Johnson, Director of Sustainability. Charlotte Cadow and Tessa Lightfoot, intern and volunteer for the Office of Sustainability, were also involved.
One benefit of Tiger Transit would be an enhanced sense of place. The school emphasizes fostering a sense of place and connecting with the surrounding community; however, in practice, this idea does not necessarily pan out. Tiger Transit would allow students to get off campus more often and develop a sense of place within Colorado Springs, an idea that is not currently prevalent.
“I think we are very isolated from the town,” said sophomore Logan Coleman. “Unless taking a job off campus or having access to a car, CC kids are more or less forced to stay on campus. The vibes of CC versus Colorado Springs seem to be in stark contrast of each other.”
Another benefit of Tiger Transit would be a more equitable transportation option. Some students cannot afford a car and the associated costs that come with owning one, leaving them at a disadvantage for transportation around the area. Having free access to public transportation would ensure that all CC students have the same access to locations around the city.
Currently an average of 11,000 trips are taken on MMT each year by CC students at a rate of $1.75 per ride. This means that if a student rides public transportation more than three times a semester, the pass would pay for itself. Ridership of public transportation is also expected to increase if the proposal passes, thereby decreasing the college’s carbon footprint.
“We have this environment where a lot of people have cars,” said sophomore Beau Burns, CCSGA representative on the Sustainability Council. “Having public transit…less people use cars, so that’s a sustainability thing by reducing carbon footprint and getting more people in the same vehicle.”
The closest bus stop is located on the corner of Cache La Poudre Street and Nevada Avenue, and buses run every 15 minutes. From there, students can go to the transfer station downtown where other buses can be taken to locations throughout Colorado Springs.
The other three options for funding include Llamapalooza, club sports, and arts and crafts. Any money dedicated to Llama will go directly towards artist and performance fees, potentially allowing the committee to bring in bigger names.
Any money allocated to club sports will go towards subsidizing travel and uniform costs for club sports athletes.
If money is given to arts and crafts, all material fees will be covered for students. If enough students allocate $6, all materials will be free for students, and there will no longer be a $20 adjunct fee.
Students can choose multiple options to allocate money to, so long as the amount doesn’t go over $18 total. The survey aims to discover which options students value most, and the actual allocation of money will depend upon the results.