Are We There Yet: New CATS partnership offers free student transportation

The campus shuttle waiting outside the law center for the students to get out of class

(Knykolas Ross/DIGEST)

At the beginning of this semester, the Southern University and A&M College Student Government Association revealed a partnership allowing students to receive free rides to various places in Baker, La. in addition to the Southern University shuttles. The new addition to the transportation services now include Lynx by CATS.

Every day from 7:00 am to 1:00 am the following morning, the S.U. shuttle operates routes throughout the campus every 30 minutes to an hour. The shuttle also travels to destinations requested by students on the weekends. The Lynx system is operational at various times during the day and night. Similar to Uber, Lynx also allows you to be picked up and dropped off at specific areas.

There are two shuttles that run concurrently, one white and the other blue.

Otis Jordan, transportation coordinator and the driver of the notable blue bus, greets passengers on the shuttle at the outset of each morning. Jordan request a copy of your current student ID and the address where you want to be dropped off. The Cadence, Minidome (Mumford Stadium Lot), Jones Hall, the Circle (Totty and Shade Hall), T.T. Allain Hall, SU ROTC, SULC/the Union, James Hall (Pinchback, Fisher, and the School of Nursing), and Minidome (return) are all stops where students can board or get off the bus. Following this procedure, students typically ride the bus until Jordan arrives at the destination of their choice. Students are welcome to ride as long as they like on this bus trip, which takes around 30 minutes to complete.

Fascinating information was revealed after speaking with Dr. Anthony Jackson, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students who is also the director of transportation. Students’ tuition funds are used to support the S.U. shuttle. Every student pays a nominal student fee, which goes toward paying the drivers an hourly wage and covering the $5,000–$10,000 monthly maintenance costs. Given the increasing cost of gas due to inflation, an estimated $2,500.00 is spent exclusively on gas per month.

Dr. Jackson responds, “What you don’t know right now is there’s a move coming around the city for us to start a commuter crew…from work to home or from home to work.” Jackson also suggests getting a few golf carts to transport students and faculty to specific destinations safely at night.

The Lynx by C.A.T.S transit system is on an entirely different level. When it comes to transportation, Lynx, Lyft and Uber are very similar, with the exception that Lynx only allows you to be picked up and dropped off at specific places, all of which are listed in the Lynx app. Students at S.U. are only eligible for the free Lynx rides if they are enrolled as students. The Lynx app will only charge you if you didn’t register as a student or arrange the ride as a student. Lynx is utilized by residents of Baker as well as students who live on campus. When you arrive at the checkpoint, you must present your student ID in order to board a Lynx and enter the campus.

Students who don’t live on the side of town where S.U. is located have the same concern: when will Lynx be accessible to them?

SGA President, Carlos Brister responds, “I’m currently working on a partnership with the Southern University Foundation to offer Lyft and Uber codes to students to basically almost go anywhere in Baton Rouge, and that’s a project I’m hoping to have done by homecoming.”

Students can call the S.U. Police Station to request a ride from the shuttle to your selected place or simply pull out your phone and register a Lynx ride if you ever need transportation.

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