The number of students who have ridden CDTA have risen since last year despite the decrease in enrollment.
An average of 1,300 individual students per month rode CDTA from Sept. 2015 to Feb. 2016. Despite the decrease in enrollment the college has experienced over the past several years, CDTA ridership has seen a 0.65 percent increase.
During that same period, the average rides per month has increased 2.2 percent, meaning that individuals are riding more per month than they were last year.
“I think it is something that is of value to the students,” said Ann Carrozza, director of the FSA. “I think it helps students in a number of ways, not only to get here, but it enables them to do what they need to do.”
Collectively, student riders would have had to pay almost $280,000 out-of-pocket from Sept. 2015 to February of this year without the free ridership the college offers. From Sept. 2014 to Aug. 2015, that number was over $413,000.
The college, FSA and student Senate split the incurred costs to offer CDTA to students at no charge. The college takes on more of the financial responsibility than the FSA or the Student Senate, which both pay the same amount.
Carrozza has been pleased with CDTA since the beginning of their partnership in 2013 despite some glitches that first year, including some students’ ID cards not allowing them to board buses. If a student lost his or her card and received a replacement without getting a new picture taken, the new card wouldn’t read in the swiper.
“It took us a little while to figure that out, but CDTA was great,” said Carrozza. “We had all of these students coming in and saying that they couldn’t use their cards, and CDTA gave us these little swiper cards so the students could just use those.”
Students were issued new ID cards at no cost to them once the problem was discovered.
Carrozza said that one parent called her complaining that his son was not able to board the bus he needed because it was too full, and that the bus drove right on by. When Carrozza called CDTA and asked them to put a second bus on the line, they did so the next day.
“The parent called me a couple days later and said when he called, he didn’t think [a new bus] would happen at all, much less this quickly,” she said.
The college and CDTA are currently under their third contract. The first was in effect from Aug. 2013 to 2014 and the second from Aug. 2014 to 2015. The current contract is valid until 2018.
After this third contract expires, Carrozza is confident the college will continue to offer this option to students.
“I think that we will continue [with CDTA]. Of course, we will have to renegotiate, and that can be tricky, but we’ve been pleased so far.”