Columbus, local community college to discuss extending public transit service to campus

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COLUMBUS, Nebraska — The city of Columbus and a local community college will discuss extending public transit service to help students get to the campus.

The City Council this week decided to let staffers talk to Central Community College-Columbus about offering service at the school, which sits just north of the eastern Nebraska city.

College President Matt Gotschall requested the discussions as part of a college sustainability plan that includes reducing carbon emissions by promoting carpooling and public transportation, the Columbus Telegram said (http://bit.ly/VIcFJy ).

Gotschall said the city's Columbus Area Transit service could provide a transportation option for students who commute to campus from Columbus as well as aid those who live on campus but don't have a vehicle.

It doesn't make financial sense for the college to start its own transportation program when the city-run service could prove to be a viable option, Gotschall said.

Columbus Area Transit service passengers pay $2 per one-way trip through a call-based system. The service hasn't been operating outside city limits.

Gotschall said extending the service to the college likely would boost ridership and revenue. The service is funded by a combination of state and federal dollars, local fares, a contribution from Columbus Area United Way and local property tax revenue.

A financial commitment from the college is a possibility, Gotschall said.

"Everything would be on the table at this point," he said.

Columbus officials said expanding the service to the campus was discussed in 2003, but that plan was abandoned because most students weren't interested.

Gotschall said students will be surveyed to see whether they might use the service.


Information from: Columbus Telegram, http://www.columbustelegram.com

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