By Alex La Rosa
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – The public transportation system has become an important issue to many students at Camden County College. The college plans to start a shuttle service between the Blackwood and Camden campuses next semester to try to alleviate the concern.
Their main concern is the cost of riding the buses. “Daily is $5.05, so if you multiply it’s $25.25 every week,” said Emmy Guzman, a pre-nursing student in her first year at the college. Guzman said she feels she is working just to pay for her transportation and it worries her because she has other bills to pay.
Christine Anlage, a studio art student, expressed a similar concern. Angale said she spends about $21 each week in transportation for school, noting, “It’s a pretty hefty amount.”
The fares vary depending on the age of the passenger and the number of zones that are traveled. The fares range from 75 cents to $2.80 for children ages 5 to 11 and senior citizens ages 62 and older, and from $1.60 to $6.30 for adults, according to New Jersey Transit, which operates the buses.
The agency offers a discounted NJ Transit pass for full-time students. The pass allows students to travel to and from designated stations for school for a month. Students must apply for the pass by the 10th of each month to get the pass for the next month. For some students, that means they lose the opportunity get the pass. “Sometimes I don’t have the money at that time, so I lose the discount,” Guzman stated.
Although money is a key part of the issue, it is not the only concern students have expressed about the transportation system. The time they must spend waiting for a bus at the college or traveling to the college is another factor. Guzman said she must spend “one hour and 45 minutes, almost two hours waiting for that bus” if she misses the bus. And Anlage said, “It takes an hour plus like 10 to 15 minutes to walk home, so it’s pretty hard.”
Julie Yankanich, director of communications at Camden County College, said the college has heard the students’ concerns and will provide a shuttle service for students starting in the spring 2018 semester. “The shuttle will run back and forth between our Camden campus and our Blackwood campus Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” Yankanich said.
A petition signed by 300 students led to the decision to start a shuttle service. Details about the shuttle service will be announced in November, Yankanich said.
Guzman and Anlage were glad to hear the news. “Whaaaat? Are you serious? Oh my God! That would be the best,” Guzman said. Anlage said, “I think that’s awesome! It definitely benefits me and my wallet! Hopefully they go through with it!”