Fresno State…a commuter campus or not?
“Sometimes people want to say that our campus is more of a commuter campus. I personally don’t buy that,” said Dr. Frank R. Lamas, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. “I don’t believe that we’re a commuter campus when 75 percent of our students live within 15 minutes.”
Derek Brantley, interim parking and transportation manager at the Fresno State Police Department sees things a little differently.
“We realize that we’re a commuter campus, but that doesn’t mean we can’t responsibly try to help,” he said.
Whether some might agree or disagree, the real question is what are the resources available to those who commute?
Fresno State transportation objectives are to establish and sustain commuter programs and reduce vehicle occupancy on campus, in addition to promoting transit alternatives.
“There’s a lot of resources for commuting that are available to students at no charge,” said Brantley.
The Bulldog Express, the Fresno-Visalia bus route, FAX 15 and Clovis Transit are all transportation options provided to students and employees.
“Something that I think is important for students to know is about parking fines that are written,” Brantley said. “All that money gets put back into commuter programs such as the Bulldog Express which is paid for with parking citations, and the Visalia V-Line is all paid for out of fines.”
The Bulldog Express bus costs the school $86 per hour each day it runs, Brantley said.
Fresno State fully subsidizes Fresno FAX bus access and Clovis Transit for all students, faculty and staff, which lets them ride for free around town by just swiping a Bulldog ID card. These are all paid for with parking fines written on campus, according to Brantley.
Within the last school year from July 2017 to May 2018, the ridership numbers varied throughout the various bus transportations. The Visalia V-Line had a total of 12,841 drop offs at Fresno State, and FAX Rides had 198,718. The Bulldog Express resulted in 145,818 rides even though it does not operate in June or July, and Clovis Transit only had 3,800.
“We have the rideshare permit system for the students out in parking lot P30 which has a really high demand,” said Brantley. “We’re constantly trying to educate folks to use those because they are resources that the university provides.”
Around 10,235 student/visitor parking passes were sold in fall 2017, and 9,501 were sold in the spring of 2018.
Fresno State student Jeffery Warren is a first-year transfer student from West Hills Community College in Lemoore who commutes to campus Monday through Friday.
“On average, it takes me about one hour to get to school and one hour to get home, which is approximately 90 miles a day,” Warren said. “I tried having classes Monday through Thursday but there were time conflicts.”
According to Warren, it isn’t financially worth living on or near campus, but it’s also not as convenient to drive daily.
“Overall, education is necessary in today’s world, and I’m willing to make the trip daily if it means I can achieve my education goals,” said Warren.
For more information on sustainable transportation, visit this Fresno State Transportation Administration and Finance website.