Tech-ed out transportation

 Uncategorized
Aug 292011
 
Authors: Tyler Cashion

For the past four years, CSU Transfort has been working to implement a new system for allowing students to ride the bus.

“The last few years we have just had students show their ID to get on the bus,” Kurt Ravenshlag of CSU Transfort said. “But this was just a phase while the new technology was being installed on the buses.”

Now, $40,000 later, CSU has a system on each bus, which transmits information from the RamCard office to the buses and vice versa, all operating around a small microchip found in students’ ID cards.

“If they (the students) are a full fee-paying student, they can use their card to board the bus,” Ravenshlag said. “A light will come on (after scanning) either green or red, depending on the student’s status at CSU.”

Upon seeing a red light, the bus driver will issue the student a paper with information they need to know, Ravenshlag said. Any hold on your account and you cannot ride the bus, he added.

And while these new changes were a long time coming for the Transfort system, not everyone seems happy about them.

“So now if I have a late payment, I can’t even go to class,” Leslie Johnson, a CSU senior and Transfort rider said. “I can see how this system can be much quicker, but I don’t want to find out that I have a hold on my account trying to board the bus on the morning of a test.

“I’m skeptical of the intentions of introducing these new RamCards,” Johnson added. “It has taken three years to get it going, thousands of dollars and once they start to get RamCards to students, they have problems with that as well. Yet, all the while they stress the ease of this new system.”

There has been one glitch so far, Ravenshlag said.

“Twenty to 30 cards were issued without the chip, but stickers were put on those cards and the RamCard office will contact those students when the new stock comes in,” he said.
But, according to Neal Lujan of Housing and Dining services, students shouldn’t worry about getting a new card to ride the bus.

“The RamCard Office has distributed cards with smart chips in them to new students at Orientation for the past four years,” Lujan said. “In addition, we collaborated with the University Technology Fee Advisory Board (UTFAB) to conduct a free trade-in offer to continuing students who didn’t get a ‘chipped’ card at orientation.”

Originally, bus passes were issued to students who requested them, but as Ravenshlag explained, Transfort negotiated this new system in their most recent contract with ASCSU.
Transfort has also worked up an agreement to let part-time students purchase a six-month pass from the transit center for $25.

“We were definitely in favor of this because we felt like this was going to reach a lot more students who would not have originally gotten a bus pass,” Ravenshlag said. “We also had to track the rider information for CSU through the RamCard office and by using the RamCard.”

For more information on Transfort, or for bus schedules, visit Transfort near the north entrance of the Lory Student Center basement.

Collegian writer Tyler Cashion can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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