I’ve never used the Matador Tram. There, I said it. The reality is, not only have I not taken the tram, I really have no inkling to do so in the near or distant future. I think it might have something to do with needing to get somewhere other than Student Housing or the University Student Union (USU).
The Matador Tram, a transportation service offered to students Monday thru Friday, was revamped in 2004 from an old bus shuttle system to the environmentally friendly vehicles now seen on campus.
The tram has exactly four stops. Starting on Lindley Avenue between Kinzie and Lassen Streets, the tram stops at University Park Apartments building 9 and near the entrance to the baseball field before dropping students off north of the USU.
I don’t live in the dorms, haven’t broken a sweat running around a baseball field since eighth-grade physical education and I don’t have a single class in the USU. So what use does the tram serve for me? Nothing.
Maybe I’m being a bit self-concerned. There are students at CSUN who find the tram service to be very helpful in getting them to and from different areas on campus. These students are able to get on the tram when it’s chilly outside or raining. Oh wait, the tram isn’t even an enclosed vehicle.
A genuine argument that can be made in defense of the tram is it saves students living in campus housing from buying a parking pass. A residential parking permit now costs a steep $324 for the academic year.
Yes, the tram service is saving students money which is why some may feel that my gripe is petty, but I bet the opposition’s tune would change if they knew what neighboring colleges are providing their students to get around campus.
Fellow CSU campus Cal Poly Pomona has a exceptional shuttle system called the Bronco Express (even the name is fiercer than the Matador Tram). The shuttle system has four routes, with a minimum seven stops on each.
Not only should CSUN students envy the variety of routes Pomona students get, they should be bitter that students also have the option of getting arrival predictions for their route of choice via their mobile phone.
Just imagine finishing class and walking out of Sierra Hall to the street adjacent to the B3 parking structure, Etiwanda Avenue. Information on your cell phone lets you know the tram will be arriving in five minutes to take you to your destination on the other side of campus. My mouth is watering at the concept.
It doesn’t stop there. CSU Channel Islands has an off-campus shuttle service. At a $25 fee per semester, students are given the opportunity to take this shuttle to three student-populated areas off campus.
The equivalent at CSUN would be a shuttle that dropped students off on Nordhoff and Devonshire Streets, Reseda Boulevard and Zelzah Avenue. Many students connect to public bus stops and live in apartment buildings on these streets.
Yes, there is a lot of congestion on these main streets but other campuses have made it work. Can we do the same?’
In addition, an off-campus shuttle or tram service would benefit students living in housing who don’t have a car and want to go to the local movie theater or mall without depending on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority system.
I may be getting a bit greedy here, but I wouldn’t think it was a feasible idea if campuses such as USC and UCLA weren’t already providing these services.
I’ve neglected to bring up the fact that the economy right now is less than stellar. Administrators, faculty and students alike may cringe at the concept of a more efficient tram system at a time when the state still has no budget.
I think it is worth pointing out that one of the goals of the Obama administration is to create new and efficient public transportation systems. I think CSUN should get on the bus ‘- no pun intended ‘- with the wave of change.
Of course, that’s when the state gets a budget.