Taking the Bus: Tri-C Students who use Public Transit to get to Campus
For students getting to and from campuses, getting around can be a challenge. Many residents of the greater Cleveland area rely on the Greater Cleveland Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) to get around. All of Cuyahoga Community College’s main campuses are served by several bus lines connecting different parts of the county, allowing students without other reliable transportation or those who don’t wish to drive the ability to get to campus.
“It’s just convenient to get me where I gotta go. I don’t drive, I’ve never driven, so it’s the convenience of it.” says Juliett McCoy, who lives on the East Side. She participates in the Women in Transition course at Tri-C’s Western Campus.
Multiple educational institutions, among them Tri-C, are participants in the RTA’s U-Pass program, allowing eligible students to us the entire system, including rapid transit trains, for the entirety of the semester. One student using U-Passes is Hailey Vanderpool, who lives in Lorain County. “It just makes it easier because I don’t drive right now. My grandmother is my main source of transportation, so it makes it easier on her too.” says Vanderpool, who takes the system to Westlake before being picked up.
Vanderpool uses the bus for school only, but U-Passes can be used for any transportation purposes by students. “I use this for just getting around the city, going to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, going back and forth from school, wherever I gotta go.” says McCoy.
“I don’t have to worry about the road conditions when driving. I get the schedules, I plan everything around it, and it’s fine. I enjoy it.” says Kathy Thompson. Thomason, who’s in her 70’s, is a resident of Brook Park. She tutors Tri-C students in accounting courses but is registered as a student at Cleveland State University, where she gets her U-Pass. “What I usually do most of the time, it’s just here to school and back home. But on Fridays and maybe once on Tuesday or Wednesday, if I forgot something for grocery shopping and on the weekend, I’ll stop on the way home at Southland Plaza and pick up some groceries.”
Students interviewed didn’t have many qualms with it. “It’d be more convenient if they had chargers on the bus,” said Vanderpool, “I need to be able to text my grandmother where I am, what bus I’m on.”
McCoy said some drivers could be hit-or-miss sometimes. “Sometimes it’d seem like they’re stressed out a lot, pretty mad, ask them some questions about directions and they don’t answer or they have a problem with that.” she said, “But otherwise I really don’t worry about that, and I just get my ride.”
Thompson says some changes have improved things. The bus route she mainly uses, she says, runs every half-hour instead of hourly, making things more convenient. She does, however, miss a trolley bus line in Downtown Cleveland, which has since been discontinued. “Stops were much more convenient to Cleveland State. they stopped usually right at the building I needed instead of, like, stopping at 20th [Street] so I have to walk back to 18th [Street].” A senior citizen, Thompson also says she has concerns about slipping on black ice during the winter.
All three expressed the importance of public transit, and the U-Pass. “It would make it harder cause I don’t make a lot of money. I work at McDonald’s, so if I didn’t have this I wouldn’t be able to afford riding the bus.” said Vanderpool.