Keep the Columbia Park and Ride 142 Bus!

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The 142 Columbia Park and Ride bus was a blessing for many riders and their families because it saved us time, money, and exhaustion from driving to campus every day and finding and paying for parking. Columbia students who were unable to find affordable housing near campus or purchase parking permits with limited availability were able to ride the bus and receive their education. Now these students will have to find alternatives for transportation to campus, which will involve extra costs from purchasing cars, insurance, gas, and parking permits if they are available.

Unlike the other canceled busses near campus, there are no easy, affordable alternatives for student transport from Columbia to College Park. No other bus routes go directly to the College Park area. Alternatives, such as the MARC train, do not properly serve Columbia and are costly. WMATA Metro lines also do not reach into Howard County, whereas the Red Line goes deep into Montgomery County.

The bus ride also provided students time to study that they will not have driving themselves to campus. It provided a sustainable option to transport students and staff to the university every day.

In conclusion, I urge DOTS to please keep the accessibility of Columbia students in mind and reconsider the complete cancellation of the 142 bus service. Reduced service or the use of one of the regular busses versus the Maryland coach bus would be preferred over cancellation. Regular student riders have loyally relied on this service to receive their education every day and we are devastated at the prospect of its cancellation and how it will affect students' studies. In addition, students had been making changes to their living arrangements to reflect the bus’ existence, and would likely have had increased ridership with continued service.

While the staff and faculty population riding the bus is large, there are students who need the bus as well. Cutting this bus because of the large staff ridership does not properly address the needs and concerns of Howard County students looking to take sustainable options to campus, and alternative options, such as vanpool, is an increased cost on top of the money students have to pay for transportation, which is subsidizing the shuttle buses at UMD, including the 141.

Please keep the bus!!! It’s very convenient for a lot of my friends and I to take to go home. Some people I know use this bus to commute every day and others are planning to start next semester.