In response to the e-mail entitled “Parking starting to cramp your style?”

I received FAU’s e-mail encouraging students to consider using public transportation services instead of their own cars for commuting purposes. I believe the main reason for encouraging more students to use the public transportation option is an attempt to reduce the number of cars on campus. However, after doing a cost/benefit analysis, comparing public versus private transportation, I have found the public option to cost nearly double the amount. One round-trip commute using my car, from Boynton Beach to the FAU Boca Campus, costs approximately $3.90; alternatively, my cost for using the public option would be $9.25.

Palm Tran does offer various discounts; however, all of the options have eligibility requirements. For example, college students older than 21 years of age are not eligible for a “reduced fare.” The remaining discount options only apply to senior citizens, people with disabilities, and Medicare recipients. If public commuters do not fit into at least one of the four discount categories, they must pay the full price to ride.

A round-trip ticket on Tri-Rail from Boynton Beach to Boca Raton costs $6.25. Unfortunately, the discount policies upheld by Palm Tran are nearly identical for Tri-Rail commuters. In addition, Tri-Rail has a history of not running on time. Reliability and convenience are two major obstacles that commuters, who use public transportation, need to overcome on a regular basis.

Each semester FAU students pay a “Transportation Access Fee” (TAE). The money more than likely is spent on maintain roads, parking spaces, and traffic signs- which I believe is acceptable and necessary. However, do commuters (students, faculty, staff), who strictly use public transportation still have to pay the TAE? Instead of having their TAE fees spent on transportation services used by private commuters, public commuters could more readily use their TAE money on fares for pubic transportation.

I do not predict the FAU community will become more reliant on public transportation to fulfill their obligations for arriving on time. Even though the use of private transportation makes the roads and parking lots congested, the public options are more expensive, inconvenient, and, at times, unreliable.

One solution to reducing the negativity surrounding the congested parking situation is for private commuters to arrive early enough to find a parking space. Attempting to find a parking space 5 to 10 minutes before class is not reliable nor is it convenient. Both the public and the private commuting options have positive and negative factors, but commuters are ultimately responsible for making sure they arrive at their intended destination on time.

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