Innovative commuter system Tallahassee bound

Commuter Services of North Florida is now offering its way of traveling to students.

The commuter program was created by the state in 1996, to provide residents of Leon, Gadsden and surrounding counties with rides to and from school, work and home.

According to Jeff Horton, executive director of CSNF, the program was started primarily for work commuters.

Tallahassee is unique because of its huge student population. He said that is why CSNF is paying more attention to student travel.

“Alternative modes such as carpooling, public transit, walking and biking reduce demand for parking, making it more convenient for everyone,” Horton said.

CSNF can relate to students ,and this is one of the reasons why the Guaranteed Ride Home Program has been added as a service.

Horton said there are three requirements to qualify for the program.

Students must walk, carpool, vanpool, bike or take the bus to school at least three times per week.

Students must also call in advance and register to guarantee a ride.

Once a student is registered, he or she will receive a GRHP voucher in the mail.

“The voucher is the students ticket home,” Horton said.

Horton said a student who commutes from Quincy to Tallahassee is traveling almost 46 miles round trip.

He also said that according to the American Automobile Association, the average cost of driving a car in the Southeast in 2005 is 50 cents per mile.

This includes the cost of insurance, depreciation, gas mileage and maintenance.

Based on theses figures, if a Quincy student carpooled with just one person, the savings would be $11.50 per day for each person or $920 per semester, Horton said.

Horton said CSNF is open to any resident, but the program is based on an honor code.

“We don’t limit the use of any of our programs unless we detect abuse,” Horton said.

Many college students around the city are happy that CSNF has provided alternatives to traveling.

“I’m glad that CSNF is around. Now I can sleep later and don’t have to get up 20 minutes early to catch the bus,” said Anthony Green Jr., 21, a senior theatre student from Charleston, SC.

Horton said carpooling will help save the environment and roads.

According to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, automobiles are the No. 1 source of pollution in Florida. Mike Wright, commuter assistance program manager, said the department is committed to improving mobility options for Floridians.

“FDT helps to fund transit agencies, but not completely,” Wright said.

Contact Angela A. Green at