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CU Public Transit: Need to Know

By James Hoyle
On February 11, 2016

While Princeton is not too far away from Athens or Concord University, it can sometimes be a hassle to get there, especially if one does not have a vehicle. To be sure, one could always ask a friend to drive them, but as everyone is busy doing homework and studying and other things, that may not always be an option. To that end, the Bluefield Transit Authority, with the cooperation of Concord University, offers a bus service that students can use during the week. Normally, the fee for people to use the bus is $1.25. However, if one has a Concord University student I.D, they can ride the bus for free. The bus travels to Princeton and back, and it does not take very long for it to make its way there to Princeton. 

    Contrary to what certain rumors may have said, the Bluefield Transit Authority does not charge students to use the bus, nor do they have any future plans of charging Concord students. However, some cuts have been made in recent years, and it all has to do with Concord University’s student enrollment and the budget that it is allocated to use for such things. 

    Rick Dillon, Vice President of Administration and Associate Dean of Students, says that students may ride this bus through a series of contracts and agreements that the school has with the Bluefield Transit Authority. “Every year, it is my job to work with the Bluefield Transit Authority to help students with as much bus service as we can and that we can afford, both to and from the institution,” Dillon explained. He said that the Bluefield Transit Authority, through the grants it receives through federal funding, provides and operates a bus for students that need it.

    The money comes from state and federal grants, as well as private sources. Concord University then subsidizes the bus further so that students may have access to it. Dillon was quick to add that there should be no fee, due to the grants and the subsidies that the school gives to the Bluefield Transit Authority to keep and maintain the bus. “Beyond that,” he said, “Until last year, we had another deal with the Bluefield Transit Authority in order to have them run on the weekends. We did that so that students would be able to get to Wal-Mart and to the movie theater on the weekends.” The money to cover the bus during the weekends, according to Dillon, came from an auxiliary fund in the school’s overall budget, and not from student tuition or fees. However, due to several factors, the bus service has been experiencing several problems. Dillon elaborated saying, “Last year because we didn’t have enough money to run both days, we decided to drop the Sunday service.” Later on, due to a lack of funding to run the service, the Saturday service was also cut.

    Several factors other than just the budget led to this decision. Though gas prices have come down considerably since Concord University first began offering this service, the Bluefield Transit Authority has to pay the bus drivers overtime if they drive their routes during the weekends. This, coupled with the budget cuts all across campus, led the buses to stop running during the weekends. However, Rick Dillon said that if enrollment were to pick up, they would be able to run on the weekends again. The Bluefield Area Transit Bus runs Monday through Friday, the first run arriving at the Student Center at 7:55 a.m. on those days. The Transit Authority asks that riders show up at least 15 minutes early, and schedules can be found in the student center. 

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