Transportation system could be essential for growing student population

According to Student Government Association Vice President Isabelle Rogner and Veterans and Diversity Affairs liaison Keith Schemel, a transportation system is essential for a growing Marshall University.

Rogner has been working on implementing a dedicated transportation system at the university since last March and said she has been drafting a physical proposal with Schemel since last week. Both Rogner and Schemel said each see the system coming to fruition sometime next year.

At the center of the proposal is the idea that Marshall as a school is expanding, and its student body needs to have the ability to expand with it.

“Marshall is taking over Huntington,” Schemel said. “It’s not a small school by any means. It’s only a matter of time before Marshall University takes over the west end, St. Mary’s, Cabell. We need something like this in place.”

The current transportation system provided by Tri-State Transit does provide transportation methods for Marshall University students as well as non-students. However, the primary concern is that the bus only runs until midnight, a time when many college students are still participating in off-campus social activities.

This raises the issue of safety, which Rogner and Schemel said is an important matter for both of them.

“I want women to feel a lot safer, everyone honestly, but I’m looking at it from a woman’s point of view,” Rogner said. “I think we owe our students a safe way to get home recreationally, especially if they’re promoting students to stay around campus on the weekends.”

Schemel said he agreed with Rogner and also suggested that a transportation system could be an asset when students are faced with inclement weather.

“If I had a class at the visual arts center at Pullman, I would want a ride,” Schemel said. “I have a car on campus and I don’t want to trek through the snow. It’s just not safe.”

According to Rogner, a typical argument against the proposed system is that it will merely become a “drunk bus.” However, a survey conducted in November put the idea to rest. Rogner said the most popular times of use indicated by students were from 5 to 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 12:50 p.m.

Additionally, top locations of interest were Pullman Square, Wal-Mart on Route 60, the Huntington Mall and Kroger.

“It really didn’t show a pattern of drunk college kids who just want a quick ride home,” Rogner said.

While rising tuition costs are always a concern, Rogner and Schemel said they doubt that the implementation of a transportation system would result in any increases. Instead, Rogner and Schemel said they both see it as a something that will likely be paid for by the individual students taking advantage of the service.

Jared Casto can be contacted at [email protected].