Guest column: university and college should help support public transportation

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In several cities across the United States, including Amherst, Massachusetts, Clemson, South Carolina, Ames, Iowa, and Athens, Georgia, the local university plays an active role in managing and operating part or all of the local public transportation system. .


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These institutions recognize their obligation to support a transit system used predominantly by their students.

Locally, in Windsor last year, St. Clair College supported Transit Windsor by providing financial support for the 518X pilot route from Windsor’s east side to the university.

St. Clair is to be commended for stepping up to support a route designed primarily to transport its students. While students support the transit system through fees, including the UPass for University of Windsor students, our postsecondary institutions have played little or no role in supporting transit.

While it is unquestionable that universities and colleges are critical institutions in communities, as recognized by the Windsor Works Local Report, our post-secondary institutions also put pressure on local resources, including housing and transit.


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When St. Clair College added 5,000 international students a couple of years ago, the Dominion 5 bus route was immediately overwhelmed as it transported students from St. Clair to their residences, most of the time on the west end of the city. town.

Post-secondary students have also put significant pressure on our rental housing stock, putting financial and housing pressure on non-student tenants.

This challenge has been magnified as the university and faculty have become more dependent on the tuition of non-local students to meet their budgeting needs and pay their professors.

Put more bluntly, the local university and college have passed the money on to the city to largely pay for the transit infrastructure and necessary housing while they cash the tuition checks.


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Local taxpayers are left to pay much of the bill for the pressures the university and college put on our housing stock and transit system as institutions recruit everywhere to pay their bills.

While this is certainly not unique to Windsor, I believe that the university and faculty should do more to meet the housing and transit needs of their students rather than simply cashing checks and passing the needs of the students over to their host community.

As I noted, universities in various US cities have stepped up to help operate local transit systems. This has benefited students who have been trained in servicing fleets of transit, operating buses, and managing the system.

As Windsor looks to construct a new bus services building and substantially increase investments in transit, I believe that our local university and college should collaborate in the financing, operation and administration of our transit system.

Currently, it is a system that its students use disproportionately and local owners pay disproportionately.

I believe this will allow our postsecondary institutions to support their host community without imposing an obligation to support student infrastructure on the local taxpayer.

It will also create opportunities for student training and employment.

Daniel Ableser is a Windsor resident and local attorney.


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