The second commuting student outreach meeting at UW Tacoma took place on Feb. 26, which discussed the possibility of getting single occupant commuters out of their private cars and informing them about public transit and other transit options. The meeting involved many liaisons from other transport organizations like Pierce Transit, Downtown On the Go and Clint Culpepper — the transportation operations manager at Portland State University.
UWT is facing the problem of a higher number of single occupancy vehicle riders commuting to campus compared to those commuting using public transit. Students are given the choice to opt in to purchase a $40 One Regional Card for All — otherwise known as the orca card — during registration each quarter to help with covering the costs of commuting. The Orca card also applies to van pooling in the local area, and its cost is determined by the amount of students in the van and the route itself.
Facts and statistics were brought up during the meeting to help the attendees understand the importance of public transportation.
“A child is hit every eight days,” said Hally Bert, Downtown on the Go coordinator.
The average cost of owning a car is $9,000 a year, and also roughly around $200–500 per quarter for a parking permit at UWT. This is a high cost compared to paying for public transit through the orca card, which would equal to a total of $120 for three quarters. Another thing to take into consideration is that public parking will be only for 90 minutes and will be charged by the hour.
The outreach concern resulted in talks about having a UWT app and utilizing other possible resources, such as a questionnaire at the beginning of each quarter during registration, word of mouth, class announcements by professors, Canvas, university websites and emails, and public communications.
For many students, public transportation is not a suitable options for their individual situations, with many facing long commutes, changing schedules, jobs, and more. Students face these many factors to determine the right means of transportation, which may not always be public transportation.