The bus or Lyft? Neither option is ideal

Anandah Brandy waiting for an Uber from FAMU back to West Tennessee Street.
Photo courtesy: John Matthews

Many FAMU students were happy to finally be back on campus. The transition from being able to just wake up, roll over in bed, open up your laptop and attend remote classes to now having to travel from home to school is a big change.

I am a senior broadcast journalism student. I transferred from Tallahassee Community College during the year that classes were remote.

While attending TCC, I got to school by walking or I took the StarMetro bus, as it was free to TCC students at the time.

I reside at Alight West Tenn, on West Tennessee Street. It was nothing but a 7-minute bus ride from home to school.

When I transferred to FAMU during the year of remote school, I didn’t have to worry about leaving my home on West Tennessee Street, which is approximately a 20-minute drive to FAMU, with light traffic. Now that school is back in person, I needed to find the most affordable and college-friendly way of getting to school every day, because I don’t have a car.

StarMetro has a convenient route service for FSU students. There is no fare required on any StarMetro regular citywide route with a valid FSU student ID.

But what about FAMU students? FAMU students are able to take the Venom Express shuttle to school, which is only available to those in on-campus housing.

Students like myself, who do not live on campus, without personal transportation, or straight access to the StarMetro (as it only shuttles to the FSU campus), find it a bit of a hassle. Our choice is to either drain or wallets using Uber and Lyft, or to take three busses to get to campus. The route would take me from West Tennessee Street to CK Steele Plaza, to South Martin Luther King Boulevard, then finally to FAMU’s campus. This route would take me about an hour to get to campus.

The busses are convenient when it comes to saving money, but there are cons to taking the bus as you need to go according to the bus timings and stop at numerous destinations in order to get to school. Most students like myself sacrifice their funds and just Uber or Lyft to school.

Arthur Henderson, an Alight West Tenn complex leasing manager and  a FAMU student, said most students who live in the complex don’t have a car.

“Most of our residents just Uber or Lyft to school,” Henderson said. “When I don’t get a ride from my friend, I usually Uber. The bus routes are too long.”

Tyanna McKnight, a FAMU alumna, struggled going to school from West Tennessee Street when she was enrolled.

“Every morning, I would have to wake up and travel about two hours before my class, to ensure I get to school on time,” McKnight said. “I really wish I had a car when I was enrolled at FAMU.”

So do I.