Next stop: Success

By Hency Yuen-Eng

Lack of accessible transportation is a barrier for many students. One New York college is trying to remove that barrier.

A spring 2018 survey of more than 200 Monroe Community College (MCC) residence hall students found limited access to transportation is a barrier to accessing off-campus food sources, employment, health care, and volunteer and social opportunities.

As a way to lift that barrier for all MCC students, the college and Regional Transit Service (RTS) have partnered on a new transportation program that provides students with unlimited access to all RTS bus routes in Monroe County, and with direct service between MCC’s Brighton and Downtown campuses beginning in the fall 2018 semester.

The new Universal Pass (U-Pass) program removes a barrier for MCC students, including those living on campus, who struggle to find transportation to campus, internships, jobs, volunteer opportunities and medical appointments. The U-Pass allows students to easily and safely travel anywhere RTS fixed-route bus transportation is provided in Monroe County to take advantage of community resources.

“Having access to safe, reliable and convenient public transportation can make it easier for students to succeed in and out of the classroom,” RTS CEO Bill Carpenter said. “I thank President Kress and MCC for embracing public transit as a component of student success and for partnering with RTS to launch the first program of its kind in Monroe County. As we continue reimagining public transit in our community, the MCC-RTS U-Pass program will help lay the groundwork for the kind of innovative partnerships that will help our organizations thrive for many years to come.”

Under the program, full- and part-time MCC students can ride RTS free with their MCC ID—any route and anytime, including weekends and college breaks—during the academic year. Students simply swipe their MCC ID card when boarding the bus.

Students who take all their classes online or have all their classes at the Public Safety Training Facility are not eligible for the U-Pass but can access bus transportation by paying regular RTS fares. Students who take classes during the summer can also pay the regular RTS fare of $1 per ride.

“We are pleased to partner with RTS on a program that provides thousands of students, including the nearly 800 who live on campus, with unlimited access to RTS services, connecting them to the college as well as to resources throughout the community,” MCC President Anne M. Kress said. “Providing students with greater access, convenience and mobility removes barriers that may keep them from taking classes, pursuing internships and work opportunities off campus, and getting involved in civic service. The U-Pass fills a significant transportation need and will enhance students’ collegiate experience.”

MCC is the first participant—and collegiate partner—in the Finger Lakes region to join the U-Pass program. RTS plans to have similar partnerships with other colleges in the region.

How are you removing barriers for students? Sound off on LinkedIn.

Hency Yuen-Eng

is a college relations specialist in the Marketing and Community Relations Department at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York.