For various reasons, including a lack of personal transportation or a desire to save money on car maintenance and gas, many students use public transportation to get to and from CSUN.
For a little over a year, CSUN student Donna, who asked to remain anonymous, has been spending 45 minutes daily on the Commuter Express and the Metro bus to get to CSUN from Westwood because she doesn’t have a car.
If she had a car she would drive herself, she said, because using public transportation can be problematic at times.
“If I’m going to die on the street it’s going to be because of a bus accident,” she said. “Some drivers switch lanes and they don’t check the lane. They know what they’re doing but they’ll go ahead and do it anyway. It can get dangerous. I even had a driver who used to sleep at the traffic lights.”
Scott Lloyd, manager of the human resources department of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said if students notice a driver ignoring traffic safety rules, they should write down the driver’s badge number and call the MTA customer relations phone to file a complaint.
“We respond pretty quickly because we use an advanced satellite tracking system that tracks where all of our buses are at any given time,” Lloyd said. “We know the street they are on and what color the light is. If a driver ran a red light we know about it. If, strangely enough, a bus is supposed to be at once place but is stopped at 7-Eleven, we know about it.”
Lloyd said MTA bus drivers go through an extensive screening process, which includes a driving record review and a criminal background check, and an eight-week training program, after which they must pass an exam to get their B license before they can drive MTA buses.
Some students take trains instead of buses to get to CSUN.
CSUN Junior Peter Rodriguez has been taking the Metrolink to Northridge from downtown Los Angeles three days a week since September, and said public transportation is beneficial for him.
“It’s easier to take the train. It doesn’t hurt my car and public transportation is the only way I could get through all the traffic,” he said. “I can also read and study and if I don’t have anything else to do I just watch the view. I’ve never been to (the) San Fernando Valley before this. I just love the views here. It has a different feel.”
His only complaint is the small size of the shuttle buses that take students from CSUN to the Northridge train station.
Students can get discounted tickets for Metrolink, AVTA, and monthly MTA bus passes at the A.S. ticket office. Discounted bus passes cost $32 instead of the regular cost of $52.
In order to get the discount, students must acquire a special student card by sending an application, which can be picked up at the A.S. ticket office, to an MTA branch.
Students can get a train pass by going to the A.S. ticket office and showing their CSUN ID card when they pay. Rates vary according to train routes.
Kenneth Etter, director of the A.S. ticket office, said A.S. informs students about public transportation discounts on their Web site, and by passing out informational postcards as well as putting them in orientation bags when students first start on campus.
Etter said most students take the bus because they don’t have personal transportation or because they want to save money on gas. He said most students who buy passes come from downtown Los Angeles and Glendale, but some students come from as far as Oceanside.
“(Ticket sales are) not as big as we expected,” Etter said. “We do see an increase but I’m not sure if it’s connected with the gas prices or just the sheer increase in number of students we now have on campus.”