STA provides convenience

By Elsa Schmitz, Opinion Editor

Students at Eastern Washington University get the unique opportunity to ride the Spokane Transit Authority buses for a reduced fee.

While some may turn their noses up at the thought of slumming it up on public transportation, as a financially unstable college student this opportunity seems like a godsend at times. EWU charges a transportation fee that allows students to swipe their student ID in order to use the Spokane Transit system. This fee is a whole $19.50 per year.

Because EWU charges this fee, it is included in the cost of tuition. This means all students attending EWU get the chance to take advantage of the buses. There are three buses that make rounds in Lot P-10 above the PUB. Route 66 is the Cheney/EWU route, Route 165 is the Cheney Express route and Route 68 is the Cheney local route.

Routes 66 and 165 come and go from the plaza in downtown Spokane to Lot P-10 in Cheney. This provides commuters the opportunity to use the bus system to make their way onto campus without having to drive their own vehicles, saving them gas money.

Route 68 circles Cheney, passing by many apartment complexes and neighborhoods. This allows students that live in Cheney to take a short bus ride onto campus.

Senior Mitchell Urlacher tries to ride the bus to campus everyday. The trip usually takes about five minutes, according to Urlacher, but a simple mistake can make the trip longer. “Sometimes I take the wrong bus and it goes the other way,” said Urlacher.

Another student, sophomore Alex Bassett, also takes advantage of the local Cheney bus routes. “I live at Eagle Point and I don’t have a car,” said Bassett. She rides the bus to campus everyday.

However, the convenience of the local route can also become an inconvenience.

“I wouldn’t say anything is wrong with [the bus] except maybe this morning,” said Urlacher, “when we had to tell some other people to stop and go get on a different bus because it was completely full.”

Bassett has had a similar experience when she had to switch buses to get to campus. “Last week it was too full for the second Eagle Point stop, so we had to get on the [Route] 66 and ride it back to Starbucks, and get on the [Route] 66 that was going back [to campus].” said Bassett.

Despite these setbacks, both Urlacher and Bassett rely on the bus system to bring them to campus nearly everyday.

Students are also welcome to use the transit system to take daytime trips into Spokane and the outlying areas. Austin Heddon uses Route 66 to get to downtown Spokane. “It’s pretty convenient,” said Heddon.

With trips into Spokane taking approximately 30 minutes, students can plan trips to go see a new movie, go shopping or see a local band playing. However, it is important to note that buses back to Cheney from Spokane stop running at 10:35 p.m.

Students can avoid missing a bus by using the trip planner located on the Spokane Transit Authority’s website. This planner allows you to input a beginning and ending address along with the date and time. After selecting whether you plan to depart at that time or arrive by that time, the planner will suggest times and bus routes to use in order to get you to your destination.

This may be helpful for students, especially with the upcoming holiday season. Need to get to the airport to catch a flight home? Need to get to the train station? If you find yourself without a ride, perhaps using the trip planner will help you reach your destination.

All in all, it appears as though the buses and services provided by the Spokane Transit Authority are convenient for EWU students. If we pay the transportation fee included in the cost of tuition, then it would seem logical to make use of the services we are paying for. By using the bus system, students can also save money on gas and other costs that come with maintaining a car.

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