Campus loop provides way for students to get around in the winter

Campus+Loop+Route+at+the+Student+Center

Campus Loop Route at the Student Center

Nathan J. Havenner

With the PARTA Campus loop, students have an alternative to walking across campus in the cold. Since 2004, the campus loop has been one of the routes offered by PARTA.

“Kent State used to run their own bus company,” Frank Hairston, PARTA director of marketing and public service said. “The president of the university and our board decided that Kent State was in the business of education, and PARTA was in the business of transportation, so PARTA took over campus bus.”

Hairston says PARTA enjoys a good rapport with the students at Kent State, and that has substantially increased the number people taking PARTA.

“When I started here in 2001, we transported about 266,000 people,” Hairston said. “We do 1.5 million now. A large number of that comes from the people at the university, along with the good people of Portage County.”

Kent State students riding PARTA are not required to pay with cash to ride the bus.

“I think you pay for it in your tuition in some kind of way,” Hairston said. “All you have to do is show your ID and you can ride anywhere in Portage County.”

Hairston said this is a better system for students because they do not have to worry about carrying money on them to ride the bus.

During the winter months, Hairston said PARTA ridership increases up to 10 percent.

“When it gets cold, the students pile into those buses,” he said. “We have good transportation for students on and off campus.”

Despite the popularity of the campus loop route during the winter, some students feel it can be inconsistent at times.

“It’s convenient, [but] it would be more convenient if they came faster in the winter,” senior psychology major William Johnson said.

Sierra Harper, freshmen pre-fashion design and merchandising major, said she usually takes the campus loop when it is cold outside.

“The only problem is [that] it gets really crowded,” she said. “They will send a second bus, but that can take a while.”

Other students feel the convenience factor outweighs any negatives to taking the bus.

“It stops right in front of where I live, and I like that,” said sophomore aeronautics major Ethan Howard.

Despite some complaints about wait times during the winter, Hairston said the drivers are well-trained and are supposed to be at a stop between six and eight minutes. He added, however, their main concern is safety, not speed.

“The biggest thing that we tell our drivers here is to take their time,” Hairston said. “That’s our biggest thing here: safety first.”

Contact Nathan Havenner at [email protected]