Is there a growing transportation crisis for some college towns?
- NPR profiles students at North Shore Community College, whose struggles to find public transportation to the institution prompted campus leaders to contract with Uber drivers to pick up students from nearby drop-off points.
- Efforts to extend bus lines to the campus have fallen short, as the school must demonstrate a high interest in ridership to move stops beyond the closest stop, which at about four miles from campus, isn't safe for walking or riding a bicycle.
- The school shares the majority of costs with students for individual Uber rides, which draws about $40,000 from its budget annually.
This is an ideal example of how colleges address problems not only for students, but for communities at large. The struggle of the North Shore students could possible create a new legislative issue for the community, which positions the campus as an asset to residents beyond those taking classes on campus.
Most college leaders are looking for ways to positively impact the surrounding municipalities, but frequently with the elements which negatively spur town-gown relations. Princeton University, for example, has had to forge this kind of relationship out of roiled tensions over its profit-bearing businesses manipulating tax exempt status in their community. Examples such as these present an ideal for how leaders can visualize the campus as an asset in the lobbying and development imprint of a town.