Travelling Blues

Photo credit: Capital Outlook

For many Florida A&M University students, traveling to and from Tallahassee can be a two-or three-part journey. Travelling students face several inconveniences such as transportation options, costs and travel time.

The closet major airport is Jacksonville International Airport, which is about a two-and a half-hour drive, and there is currently no train service in Tallahassee.

Students travelling to and from Tallahassee find it easier to make Jacksonville their travel base. Jacksonville International Airport is located on the East Coast corridor and provides a wide variety of flights at a cheaper cost than air travel into Tallahassee International Airport, which services a small demographic at a more expensive price.

According to WCTV, Amtrak passenger service was suspended in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina caused damage to part of the Sunset Limited Route from New Orleans to Jacksonville. The damage has been repaired enough for freight trains but not enough for passenger service.

Tallahassee International Airport should offer a cheap air shuttle from Tallahassee to Jacksonville to make it convenient and cost effective for students to travel from Tallahassee.

Jim Durwin, superintendent of airport operations of Tallahassee International Airport, felt like this option would be efficient and the airport would support it.

“The airport does not operate aircraft. It provides facilities, infrastructure and services necessary for private enterprises (airlines) to operate aircraft,” said Durwin.

“If a company wanted to provide air service from Tallahassee to Jacksonville, the airport would gladly support the venture.”

In order to travel to these places, students have to take a bus or drive their cars and park them near the airport, which can cost on average $7 a day. For freshman and students without a car, that’s not even an option. Rare, direct flights from Tallahassee International Airport can be costly.

Katerah Priester, a second-year biology student from Washington, D.C., normally takes the bus to neighboring airports to travel home.

“The school should provide permanent transportation for out-of-state students to airports like Jacksonville and Orlando that are cheaper,” said Priester. “I always have a hard time getting to the airport and buying a bus ticket is an extra expense.”

On Feb. 19, Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission ran an inspection train from New Orleans to Orlando to review the railroads economic, culture and mobility opportunities. The train carried officials, industry representatives and community leaders.

City officials strongly urges Amtrak to restore passenger service in Tallahassee.

It is also my great hope that the passenger train service is restored because it will help college students immensely with travelling cost effectively and conveniently from Tallahassee.

I believe that the Tallahassee International Airport should provide cheaper flights from Tallahassee because it will benefit the students and the airport. Students will benefit from cost effective and convenient travel while the airport in turn will have more business from students.