The Dispatch ran a story yesterday showing the results of a survey of Columbus Public Schools (CPS) students’ public transportation needs. Over three fourths said they needed a pass for the school year for a variety of reasons, including transportation to and from extracurricular activities, school, work internships, and community service. Granted, this is a stated preference survey, and if you ask people if they need free transportation, they’re likely to say yes. Nevertheless, that’s a lot of students who need transportation options.
The issue is that the contract between CPS and COTA is changing in a way that could cost CPS more money. They have budget problems, like everyone else, and want to limit their potential cost for transportation to just certain needs. This essentially shifts some costs from the district to the students and their families. I expect some, maybe even most, will be able to find another way to get to around. They’ll get cars, get rides, take a school bus, bike, or walk. However, some will probably have a much harder time participating in sports, work, or even getting to school. I’m not sure I have much of an opinion on this yet, but it will be interesting to see how it works itself out.
Survey: Columbus students say they need COTA passes
By Rob Messinger
The Columbus Dispatch Tuesday September 27, 2011 8:30 AM
Three of four Columbus high-school students said they need a COTA bus pass this year in a survey the district conducted before the school board decides whether to dramatically scale back the program.
Superintendent Gene Harris last week presented a plan to revoke the passes of about 11,000 high-school students on Oct. 1, but the school board wanted more information before members made a decision. The topic is on the agenda for a meeting at 6 p.m. tonight.
More than 7,900 students responded to the survey conducted late last week, of which 60 percent said they don’t currently have a pass. Yet 76.2 percent said they needed a pass for the current school year, and the largest group (73.5 percent) cited transportation related to extracurricular activities as a need.