When it comes to public transportation Kearney has a few options. Kearney Cab, R.Y.D.E. Transit, and UNK’s Creating A Bridge program (CAB) all operate in town. But these programs are somewhat expensive or inconvenient. UNK students would benefit from the creation of a more convenient and less expensive busing operation.

Kearney Cab usually takes less than 15 minutes to pick up patrons and its business hours make it pretty convenient. But calling a cab costs $2 a mile. That means students who want to go grocery shopping will pay more than $8 for the roundtrip from campus to Wal-Mart, not to mention the cab bill other off campus ventures could rack up. A campus established bus system could provide the same ride regularly for less money both for individual trips and by offering a semester bus pass.

UNK’s CAB program offers free rides to students on Sunday afternoons. Initially designed to reach out to international students, CAB offers free rides via volunteers to any student, on or off campus. Despite the excellent price, CAB only offers rides one afternoon a week. A bus could operate a much more extensive schedule for a minimal cost.

R.Y.D.E. Transit operates on an appointment basis, and makes trips in town and to some surrounding areas. Appointments have to be made 24 hours ahead of time and the pickup time is a 30 minute window. Rides cost $1.50 each way. The main flaw with this program is convenience. Making an appointment 24 hours in advance does not facilitate a spontaneous trip to Wal-Mart, the mall or the movie theater. It would also be a hassle for regular trips like work or classes, but a regular bus schedule could cover each of these issues.

Establishing a Loper bus route could save students a great deal of money, and it wouldn’t be hard to set up. One bus could cover a simple route from campus toward downtown on 25th Street, and to popular spots on 2nd Avenue. The bus could return to campus every hour or so and routes and times could be adjusted as the operation developed. Students could purchase individual rides for a low price or a semester pass and nonstudents could purchase the same options for a slightly higher price.

To kick off the Loper bus the university should encourage incoming freshmen to purchase semester passes, in the same way options such as parking passes are promoted. The program would allow students to go shopping, have a safe ride home from the bar, or provide rides to class for off campus students.

When established, students could study, work, and go out in Kearney without a car. This would save money on parking, and gas and leave more parking spaces available for students who have cars. Ultimately this bus could become a source of revenue for the university and fund other programs for students.

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