Lawrence students gain free bus access through Valley Transit partnership

Lawrence University and Valley Transit launched a partnership where students can use their student ID cards as free bus passes from now until the end of the school year.  

Valley Transit has 18 bus routes that run across the Fox Valley Mondays through Saturdays. The earliest bus ride starts at 6:15 a.m. and the latest goes to 9:45 p.m. Detailed route maps and service hours for each route can be found on the Valley Transit website. Students can also download the Valley Transit app to track buses in real time. 

The Valley Transit app contains detailed information about all routes in service. It also shows where the bus is in real time and the approximate time before the bus arrives at a particular stop. Students should wave at the buses because drivers do not stop at empty stations, as stated in a tutorial video on the Valley Transit website. 

Students from various offices, including the Student Welfare Committee (SWC) and the Center for Community Engagement (CCE), will take travel training courses from Valley Transit. If students do not know how to ride buses in the Fox Valley, they can meet with student travel trainers from the CCE by scheduling appointments on Handshake, according to Garret Singer, the director of CCE. 

The idea for this program stemmed from a student survey by the CCE in the summer of 2021. CCE was interested in knowing students’ methods of traveling to their service sites, because far off-campus volunteer sites have traditionally been a barrier for students, Singer said. Based on the responses to the survey, students were interested in using public transportation, but they did not know how to use it, according to Singer. 

After the survey results were considered, SWC, CCE, the Committee on Community Service and Engagement (CCSE) and Valley Transit collaborated to establish this partnership.  

Senior Mikayla Frank-Martin, Chair of the Student Welfare Committee (SWC), hopes that the program will help those who do not have cars on campus, since riding the buses provides more flexibility than the weekly shopping shuttles. Frank-Martin also sees sustainability as a top priority, and having the option to take public transportation is more environmentally friendly since it encourages carpooling instead of bringing personal vehicles to campus.   

CCE’s goal is to take advantage of the partnership to encourage individual or group service trips to nonprofit organizations that are not within walking distance of campus, with plans to make infographics of volunteer locations as a guide. It is also Singer’s hope that other offices can do similar things to raise the awareness of off-campus resources. 

Cleanliness and COVID-19 safety were also taken into consideration in establishing the partnership. Valley Transit implements safety measures to ensure the health of passengers and drivers. According to the Valley Transit website, masks are required on the buses, all buses are sanitized every night, a plastic barrier separates the