By Jessica McMahon
The majority of students at Fairleigh Dickinson University commute to classes traveling to and from campus, with hundreds if not thousands of solo drivers, daily filling acres of parking lots or arriving on campus via NJ Transit buses or trains.
According to a poll taken on this reporter’s social media, eight out of the 10 students responding, both on and off campus, have part-time jobs or internships in addition to their full-time schedule of classes. Many students choose to drive directly to their non-academic activities after classes, rather than carpooling or taking public transportation.
New Jersey public transportation does not make it easy for collegiate commuters. A 15-mile commute (about a 25-minute drive) takes one student an hour and 20 minutes via NJT, assuming that the bus arrives on schedule. “With all of the work I have, I don’t have that kind of time during the day,” said Tristan Valerio, a junior at FDU who drives to school, and works part time, four days a week. ”There’s no WiFi on the buses so it’s not like I can get any work done, either,” Valerio said.
A monthly NJ Transit commuter pass ranges from $77-$304, depending on the starting location. Full-time undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to receive a rail, bus, or light rail monthly pass at 25% off of the regular monthly price, when they enroll online through NJ TRANSIT’s Quik-Tik program. Quik-Tik offers auto-pay combined with online account management. You receive your student monthly pass directly through the mail and your credit card is automatically billed, including a $3 monthly charge for use of the online system. The FDU campus has a total of six bus stops on the Teaneck and Hackensack sides.
Mary Perez, a student studying psychology at FDU, takes the NJ Transit bus to school every day. The 8.5-mile commute costs about $28 a day, and takes an hour and a half. Although she believes the bus is convenient, “it could always be improved,” says Perez.
This story part of The Equinox’s participation in a statewide climate reporting collaboration by members of the NJ College News Commons, a network of campus media outlets working together to cover the climate crisis in New Jersey.