Time Transcends Tricky Transportation

Carless at KSU? Check out the following resources:
by Nicole Gingrich
• Flash Fleet:
Phone: 330-672-4REC
Cost: Free to students with Flashcard; if family of a student must present photo ID.
• PARTA Buses:
Phone: 330-678-1287 x119 or 330-678-7745 x108
Cost: Free to KSU students, staff and faculty. Community $1-$5 a ride or monthly passes available starting at $25-$45.
• Zip Cars:
Phone: 1-866-494-7227
Cost: $25- $35 a month.
• VIP Rides:
Phone: 330-869-2847
Cost: Vary depending on distance, size of car, amount of people using the service.
• 1 Fast Transport:
Phone: 330-474-9411
Cost: $3 per person flat rate anywhere in Kent City with a $10 minimum. Additional stops are extra. Mileage rates and wait time apply.

by Nicole Gingrich

Summer brings beautiful sunny days, fragrant flowers and an abundance of fresh veggies. For most college students it also means a break from classes for eight weeks. If summer classes are a must, it means a lack of transportation around campus and in town, since PARTA (Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority) provides fewer modes of travel. Other campus transportation methods are also limited in quantity.

During regular school sessions Kent University is a thriving metropolis of Flash Fleet bicycles whizzing by, Zipcars zooming through the streets and PARTA busses starting and stopping by various covered stations to pick up students. The slower summer student traffic causes transportation services to run less frequently attributing to inaccessibility for individuals who need access to campus.

For students attending summer sessions at Kent, transportation can be problem.

“It feels like you’re confined to one area [campus]. It would be nice to explore, but it’s not too possible,” Candice Gravitt, a visiting graduate student at KSU from Nevada, said.

For year-round students at KSU, a “lack of transportation is not as much of a worry,” KSU student, Evan Wagers said. “The campus is so beautiful and walkable, I don’t mind walking everywhere. The layout of the campus makes it enjoyable.”

Wagers currently lives off campus, so when he does not drive to KSU, he takes PARTA as a means of getting to various places.

“When I was a freshman I had a car on campus,” Wagers said, “but I had to park down by the [football] stadium, so I used PARTA buses to get back and forth from my dorm to my car.”

According to Kent State’s Commuter Services, more than 75% of students at KSU are commuters. For the students who are not, there are still more options for them to get from their dorms or from off-campus housing to classes.

PARTA is the largest mass transit option for students.  For hours of operation, click HERE.

bus stop

PARTA bus stops cover the KSU campus. The ROTC stop is one of the larger stops located at the front of campus. (photo by N. Gingrich)

Green and yellow signs or bus route maps mark stops. Regular semester hours include 13 routes starting as early as 6 a.m. and running until 3 a.m. On weekends, however, only three to five buses run.

PARTA abbreviates bus route hours in the summer, dropping to six buses during the week, one bus on Saturdays and none on Sundays. The buses still start at 6 a.m. but stop at 11 p.m.

Alyssa Perry, PARTA scheduling employee, said PARTA buses transport over 150 people in a typical day.

“Summer is often less busy and we really only serve the city at this time,” Perry said, “Our biggest [transit] days take place during the school year. But there is still a big mix of students and city members on any given day.”

Buses are free for students to use within the Kent campus and city limits with student ID, but all express buses outside the city cost anywhere from $1-$5 a day depending on the route. Non-KSU students have to pay the same daily amount or monthly plans are available starting at $25.

Dillon Regrut, Operations Manager for KSU, encourages students to use the Flash Fleet resources Kent State provides.

Flash Fleet bikes sit in designated bike racks at the Student Center.  Students receive keys and helmets when checking out bikes.  (photo by N. Gingrich)

Flash Fleet bikes sit in designated bike racks at the Student Center. Students receive keys and helmets when checking out bikes. (photo by N. Gingrich)

“The Flash Fleet bicycles are a free service to students as long as it’s [the bike] returned on time and without broken parts,” Regrut said. “If it is consistently late or turned in with broken parts, the students have to pay fees.”

Students can utilize the Flash Fleet during the regular semester by picking up a bike at one of seven locations around campus from 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 6 a.m.- 2 a.m. Friday- Saturday and 8 a.m.- 9 p.m. Sunday. During summer, pick-up sites are limited to three locations and hours for pick up are from 6 a.m.- 9 p.m. Monday- Friday and 8 a.m.- 7 p.m. Saturday- Sunday.  Fore more information, click HERE.

The third option that carless students have is Zipcar, a self service rental car service which rents vehicles by the hour or by the day up to seven days in a row. Renters can reserve cars online and access the car after receiving the Zipcar Card in the mail 7-10 days after application approval.  For more information, click HERE.

“Anyone can apply online,” Keely Taylor, Zipcar representative, said. “Students should apply through Kent State University’s account to get a discount. The application fee for students is $25 and then they receive $35 in free driving. The application process takes about 24 hours to get accepted.”

zip car

Zipcar spots and vehicles post signs on the parking spots and the vehicles students can rent. (photo by N. Gingrich)

In order to apply for Zipcar services the driver must have a valid driver’s license and a credit card to apply.

“If a KSU student does not have a credit card, they can use their parent’s credit card. No insurance is necessary, we [Zipcar] take care of that for the drivers,” Taylor said.

Drivers pay a sign-up fee starting at $25 for students. Then depending on how many miles they drive, how many hours/days they book the car determines the fees. There are other requirements too such as returning the car with at least a 1/4 tank of gas and parking in dedicated Zipcar parking zones.

Even though 75% of students have car access to and from campus, there are still other students who rely on the school to provide transportation services to them to get to work, class, food, recreational services, and entertainment venues.

If all else fails, students rely on walking to get from one place to another.

“Walking is the best part of campus. Everything is so close,” said Chole Spalsbury, a KSU student.


Link back to Carless in Kent.

About N. Gingrich

N. Gingrich is a teacher at Chesapeake High School.