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Rural Transportation News. Alberta 2018. No. 15 : Tending to Student Transportation Needs

By Nnenna Achebe
Before enrolling at the University of Alberta's Augustana campus in Camrose, Nnenna Achebe had always lived in urban centres where public transit was readily available. In the following article, Nnenna outlines why Augustana (and other) students need greater access to transit - a need the recently announced daily bus service to Edmonton will help bridge.

Accessible transportation services are key to the success
of the many college and university students who 
do not have their own vehicles. 

Nnenna Achebe, ALL SCiP Intern 2018 and Canada Summer Jobs 2018.
University students have many challenges. While demanding coursework makes life difficult enough, there are other obstacles that add stress to daily living. One major stress is transportation - or rather, the lack of it. 

When we can't get to and from the places we need to go, life becomes more difficult and our success is challenged. Simply put, access to transportation is vital.
For students who study at urban campuses, there are various discounted transportation options,  including buses, taxis, Uber and other services. 

As a student in a rural area, 
my transportation choices are limited.
Upon observing students for the past three years at Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta in Camrose, I see the most common mode of transportation is with one's own vehicle. 

However, many students do not have a car of their own because they cannot afford it. Therefore they have to rely on the generosity of other students to run simple errands such as going to the grocery store. Or students can call a cab, but this can be expensive, especially when the trip involves multiple stops.
The Camrose Community Bus has improved access to places around the city but transportation still presents issues for students. The bus currently runs two days a week, and only during daytime when most students are in class.
Getting around Camrose is one issue, but entering and leaving the city is another. Students at Augustana come from all over the province, the country, and even from overseas. Students who don't have their own vehicle must find rides from their parents or their friends, and that isn't always possible.
For international students, getting to Camrose is even more difficult. Once on campus, they are unlikely to have friends or family nearby so they have to pay expensive cab fares to get to larger centres like Edmonton for further connections and transportation to an airport.
It's time to reform transportation in rural Alberta. 

Students are just one of the many demographic groups that are plagued by the lack of efficient and affordable transportation in our province. The introduction of the Pogo car-share service in Camrose has improved our situation. Now, our job is to continue to advocate for more of the developments that we need to increase access to affordable and available transportation for all Albertans.

In a province like Alberta, and a country such as Canada, transportation should not be as stressful as it is, especially for university and college students.

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Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Nnenna Achebe is a third-year Bachelor of Science student at the University of Alberta's Augustana campus in Camrose, Alberta. In addition to various leadership roles on campus, she is an intern with the Serving Communities Internship Program for ALL of Alberta. Her Canada Summer Jobs project involves pulling published material on rural transportation together in what will become a publicly available collection of rural transportation resources. If you have ideas for news items that could be part of this collection, please forward your ideas to (Subject line: For Nnenna Achebe].