Buses take students on campus for free

David Ranucci

PARTA offers a cheap, convenient way to get around campus, all over Northeast Ohio

For those not used to it, public transportation may be a slightly intimidating prospect. It shouldn’t be overlooked, however, as it is often free or cheap, environmentally friendly and a reliable means of transportation.

PARTA is the local public transportation system for Kent State students. PARTA buses can take students where they need to go on campus or in the county.

PARTA operations manager Joe Yensel said there are roughly 30 on-campus stops and hundreds of stops off campus. Students can ride the bus for free anywhere on campus.

The fixed bus routes PARTA offers can take students to downtown Kent, Ravenna and Stow for free if they show their FlashCard to the driver. PARTA also offers express services to Akron for $1 and Cleveland for $5, Yensel said.

Yensel estimates PARTA moves between 10,000 and 15,000 people every day during the semester. He said while some students may fear riding transit, PARTA is happy to help them overcome those fears to get them where they need to go.

“Try it – get on the bus and just ride it,” said Frank Hairston, PARTA public relations manager. “Get on the Campus Loop. Just see where it goes.”

Hairston pointed out that PARTA buses stop at shopping centers, movie theaters and other area points of interest.

“(It’s) friendly and safe transportation,” Hairston said.

PARTA has 60 buses in its fleet, which Yensel said makes it easy for people to find a fixed-route bus during PARTA’s hours of operation. PARTA operates from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Friday, and it has 24-hour bus service to Dix Stadium.

If freshmen are looking for jobs, PARTA is looking to hire students as drivers and for other positions.

“We’re one of the few that hire student drivers,” Hairston said. “It’s one of the highest-paid jobs on campus, and we work around their schedule.”

Yensel said PARTA offers commercial driver’s license training and gives bonuses to students willing to schedule their classes around PARTA’s schedule.

Yensel said if students have any questions, they can find answers by calling (330) 672-RIDE or by checking PARTA’s Web site at http://www.partaonline.com.

Contact transportation reporter David Ranucci at [email protected].