By Ashley St. John
Many SUNY Plattsburgh students rely on the school-provided bus transportation each semester to travel home and back. Regular travel companies such as Greyhound and Amtrak are not providing transportation like usual due to COVID-19 concerns, but SUNY Plattsburgh will be providing a few charter buses to give students an option to get home if they need it.
Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Director of Special Programs Michele Carpentier sent out a notice in the Student Digest that any student who needs a ticket should reach out to her to get a count of how many people are interested.
Carpentier said about 100 students are registered for the buses so far this semester.
“We’ve had very little response from the Student Digest,” Carpentier said. “Even though we put it in there twice.”
The busing system will be a bit different than past years. The $110 ticket for this semester that went on sale Oct. 30 is only a one-way ticket, rather than a round-trip one.
“We’re really discouraging people to come back,” Carpentier said. “We urge them to go home and stay home [to prevent the spread of COVID-19].”
Carpentier also said the buses will be making five stops on their way downstate; Penn Station with a stop in Newburgh, Junior’s Restaurant in Brooklyn, Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, Walt Whitman Mall in Huntington and Roosevelt Fields Mall in Garden City.
The buses that usually seat 56 people are now limited to 26 people each, so an extra bus is being added in anticipation the buses will fill quicker.
Carpentier said they usually have four full buses, which would hold about 200 students, to travel down to bring students home.
While on the bus, students can take off their masks while seated, but if they choose to get up out of their seat, they must wear their mask.
There are some mixed feelings in students with the idea of riding in a bus for such a long time. Senior Cole Charette used these charter buses as a way home and back to Plattsburgh during his first two years at SUNY Plattsburgh.
“I think they’re doing a pretty good job planning out the safest ways to get kids home,” Charette said. “Some students don’t have the privilege of having their own car, so this is their best option.”
Even though Charette thinks the school is doing a good job with keeping students safe during these times, he also explained how the buses not having the same amount of people on them might create a bit of an issue.
“There’s a possibility that a large group of students aren’t going to have a way home because they rely on the transportation provided by the school,” Charette said, “Since people are also thinking about their own safety, they might not want to take the bus.”
If bus tickets sell out, and a student is not able to purchase one, Carpentier mentioned the school is encouraging students to let them know they need a ride home. Whether it’s an extra bus or another form of transportation, they want to make sure students are able to get home in time for the holidays.