The benefits and challenges of students using public transit

Annabel JonesIndustry Thoughts, TransLoc Blog0 Comments

It’s officially September, which means a few things: soon there will be pumpkin spice-flavored everything; weekends will be filled with football; and the last remaining schools are now in session, providing agencies with an influx of students as public transit passengers.

Taking public transportation as a student and providing transit to students as an agency can present challenges. Of course, environment — rural or urban — can make the challenges even more unique. Still, the benefits of public transit often outweigh the negatives for both students and agencies.

The 7 benefits of students taking public transit
  • Time to focus on reading, not the radio.

    Taking transit during the school year not only saves parents time and money but it can provide students with time to get a head start on homework, read, study, or even decompress after a long day at school.

  • Public transit users are more fit.

    To be sure, taking the bus isn’t exercise but getting to the bus certainly is. Use of public transit encourages daily physical activity. In fact, public transit users take 30% more steps per day than those who rely on cars.  

  • Creates lifelong transit users.

    One of the largest benefits presented by increased student use of public transit for agencies behavioral change as the habits we form in childhood often carry over into adulthood. If transit agencies can encourage taking the bus as a lifestyle choice in young adults there’s a chance that behavior will continue.

inside bus (1)


The 4 challenges of students taking public transit
  • Is it worth it?

    There are many factors that contribute to whether the cost of transit matches the value it provides but price is often a top consideration. In some instances, reducing the price of student fares can not only help spur transit use by students but for families too.

  • Rural v. Urban.

    Providing transit coverage to students presents a unique challenge for rural transit agencies. While both urban and rural agencies grapple with tight budgets, rural agencies tend to feel them more having to provide coverage to larger geographical areas with smaller ridership.

  • Just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come.

    In order to increase adoption of transit habits among younger riders, transit agencies must adequately market new initiatives, like student passes or new routes that travel closer to area schools. Just because it’s available doesn’t mean student passengers know it’s available.

Can you think of any additional challenges and benefits of students taking public transportation and agencies providing special transit options for students?

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