Campus buses offer transportation alternative

Will Schertz

A PARTA bus stops in front of the Music and Speech Building on campus. PARTA buses have routes through and off campus.

Credit: Beth Rankin

The Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority is committed to providing safe, dependable, courteous and affordable transportation services that help Portage County residents meet their travel needs.

So reads the mission statement of Kent State’s official transit service, PARTA.

PARTA has served as Kent State’s primary bus service for one year now, after taking over all transportation responsibilities from Campus Bus Service last fall.

“We’ve had a great relationship with Kent State University so far,” said Frank Hairston, marketing CEO and customer service director for PARTA. “We’re very pleased how the transition took place.”

Hairston said the bus service provides transportation to both on- and off-campus locations.

“We can get you almost anywhere you want to go,” Hairston said.

PARTA provides transportation to several places in Kent such as Wal-Mart and Target. It also provides transportation to out-of-town stops like Chapel Hill Mall in Akron, Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna and Tower City in Cleveland.

Between August and December of 2004, PARTA provided over 535,000 rides just on Kent’s campus.

Campus services include the Campus Loop route, which takes students to various points on campus and the Summit East route that commutes between the Summit East parking lot and campus and stadium shuttle buses.

The updated bus schedule can be located on PARTA’s Web site at

Even with the popularity of the campus bus system, many students prefer not to use it. Some students say they would rather walk, while others are just intimidated by the transit system.

“I never rode a bus before in my entire life,” said sophomore journalism major Vanessa Curry. But as a freshman last year, she gave the system a careful try.

“I only used it to get back from classes,” Curry said. “I didn’t use it to get to classes because I didn’t trust it enough.”

Curry said that her intimidation with the system stemmed from inexperience using it, trouble with reading the bus schedules and random bus rides with her roommate.

“We would get on buses just to see where they would go, and they would end up taking us out to the boonies,” she said. “You could always tell who the other freshmen were because after they got on the bus they were like ‘Where’s this one go?’”

Hairston said students who have problems with the campus bus service should call PARTA and report it.

“If students have issues and problems, we’ll try as hard as we can to resolve those problems,” he said.

Curry and other students also noted that occasionally buses would be late getting to their stops, but Hairston said that it has not been too much of a problem so far.

“We did a great job keeping our buses on time this year,” he said. “We’re really proud of that.”

Not only does PARTA offer transportation to students, they also offer jobs.

According to PARTA’s Web site, the campus bus service is an almost entirely student-operated organization. They offer positions as chauffeurs, attendants, supervisors and drivers.

To get a job with PARTA, you must be enrolled in at least six undergraduate hours or four graduate hours at Kent State. Applications are accepted at all times and can be found on the PARTA Web site, or at their office located at 2000 Summit Road.

Contact general assignment reporter Will Schertz at [email protected].