Lee Tran bus will no longer be stopping at FGCU
Students who use the Lee Tran Route 60 to get to campus now need to search for alternative transportation.
Steve Magiera, vice president of university advancement and executive director of the FGCU Foundation has cited financial strain on the University as the main reason for cutting the route.
“In the past, the State of Florida, through the state’s (University) Concurrency Trust Fund, paid all of the University’s Development agreement impacts with Lee County,” Magiera said.
“The state’s concurrency trust fund has dried up, and the payment of those development impacts have now fallen to the universities.”
Magiera said for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years, FGCU shouldered the $250,000 cost of a Lee Tran stop on campus without its usual help from the state. But a recent $3 million dollar cut to appropriations has created a need to conserve limited financial resources.
Students such as first-year communication major Alison Carville will need to find new transportation to campus. Carville uses Route 60 six to seven times a week to get from her home to FGCU, and she is not alone.
“There always seem to be at least 5 students either waiting for the bus or getting to school via Lee Tran,” Carville said in a recent email to Eagle News. “I know at least one professor frequently uses Lee Tran as well.”
But a review by the FGCU Foundation of Route 60 has shown that the average daily ridership coming to campus is 12 people.
“Even in the best of budgetary climates, spending $250,000 on twelve riders is not advisable, and does not maximize the resources of the campus,” Magiera said.
Carville doesn’t seem to be nervous about the cut in funding to the Lee Tran route, but she does realize that the cut will impact Lee Tran student riders.
“If the FGCU route is cut, students will have to find alternative modes of transportation and also find the money somewhere to pay for gas in their own vehicles,” Carville said. “As college students, sometimes it is difficult to find the money for it.”
Lee Tran’s history with FGCU includes a December 2009 ribbon-cutting ceremony on campus to celebrate Lee Tran’s first hybrid bus. A press release from the Lee County Board of County Commissioners addressed the idea that Lee Tran and FGCU are both proponents of a big idea—environmental sustainability.
Magiera said students will still be able to ride the free shuttles that leave from campus to West Lake Village and Gulf Coast Town Center. As FGCU is a growing university, it can expect future challenges as far as access to campus.
“We look forward to working with developments and communities to provide access to the campus through shuttles and designated drop-off and pick-up points,” Magiera said.