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Students at CU have a plethora of options available to them when it comes to transportation in Boulder. They can all walk, bike, take a bus or drive to wherever it is they want to go.
As there are so many choices available to us, what factors into the methods of transportation that students are choosing? Many may make their decision based on cost as well as concern for the environment.
“Over 80 percent of the students actually use their bus pass at least once a semester,” said Dave Newport, director of the Environmental Center. “Most people who use it use it a lot.”
Bus passes cost students $58 per semester, and are part of the student fees that we all pay regardless of whether we utilize the bus system or not.
“You pay for it when you pay your fees,” Newport said of the bus pass. “There’s a $58 bus pass fee, and so when you enroll or register for classes…every semester you pay that fee.”
Bike registration at CU costs $10 per year, and among other things grants students unlimited free service at the bike station and access to loaner bikes referred to as “Buff bikes.” The $10 fee also helps to fund payments for bike racks on campus.
The cost of using a personal car for transportation is much more complicated to calculate. Gas consumption, insurance and parking permits are a few factors that students would have to take into consideration when purchasing a car.
As far as the cost of vehicles in the current market, Ed Olsen, sales manager for Boulder Nissan, said used cars can begin from $5,000 and new cars $15,000 to $18,000. More environmentally-friendly hybrid vehicles cost about $4,000 to $5,000 more than other cars according to Olsen, who also says that it takes a long time to make up for that increase in price through savings on gas.
With such high costs involved in owning a vehicle, why would students consider purchasing one of their own?
“I got a job down in Littleton,” said Brandon Bosomworth, 19, a sophomore aerospace engineering major.
Bosomworth said in order to save some money on his car he bought it used, and that having his own vehicle has cut down on the amount of time it would otherwise take him to travel.
“Public transportation takes about three times as long as driving,” Bosomworth said.
Ryan Bender, a 22-year-old senior architecture major, is another CU student who takes advantage of the option of driving a car in Boulder.
“It’s not something that I always do,” Bender said of driving his car. “We ride the bus a lot. I don’t take my car to class or anything like that.”
When it comes to what factored into his decision to have a car while at CU, Bender cited the convenience of it.
“The only thing that is a factor to me is just the convenience,” he said.
There are some students, however, who don’t see themselves bringing cars to Boulder.
“I’m from out of state and I personally would never bring a car here,” said Alyson Smith, 19, a freshman open-option major. “I don’t want to pay for gas and the public transportation is really good anyway.”
Certainly the cheapest and most environmentally friendly means of transportation around Boulder is walking, biking or taking the bus.
“It’s way cheaper for a student just to not even have a car here,” Newport said. “Plus you don’t even need it – you can get to anywhere you want to go in a bus pretty quick.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Sara Morrey at Sara.email@example.com