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Trojan Transit partners with East Dakota Transit

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The new student transportation program at Dakota State, Trojan Transit, ran into a roadblock shortly after its inception on January 30.

The service offered students free rides to campus using state fleet vehicles. However, upon further checking, such a service is not allowed with the state’s motor pool. DSU Physical Plant Director Corey Braskamp said the state vehicles are to be used solely for state business. Taking students to and from class contradicted that fleet and travel management policy, he said.

Nicole Claussen, interim director of international programs, now reports that an alternative option has been worked out with East Dakota Transit. Students are now able to get free rides to and from campus with the local transportation service.

Using the funding that the DSU Student Senate provided the Trojan Transit program, punch cards were purchased from East Dakota. The bus drivers have these cards, and students need only to show their student ID to get the free rides.

Hours the rides are provided will be different, Claussen pointed out. East Dakota runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and riders should call 24 hours beforehand to set up the ride. The number to call is 256-5810, and East Dakota requests those calls be made between 7:30 and 11:30 a.m. when a dispatcher is available; after 11:30 callers will have to leave a message about a ride.

Claussen also noted that East Dakota Transit offers rides to Sioux Falls for $10. This is a service for which students would have to pay, but is an additional option for the local students.

Scott Fink, transit manager for ICAP in Madison said they are always looking for ways to increase ridership, and new opportunities to serve the community.

“DSU is a big part of the community,” he said, “so this [opportunity] is a win-win.”

Other universities’ systems also partner with city facilities. The CyRide system at Iowa State is part of the Ames Transit System, governed by a board of trustees. They employ 190 people, have 98 busses, and carried almost 7 million passengers in 2016. 

The Safe Ride Home system at SDSU works with sponsors including BATA (Brookings Area Transit Authority) to offer rides home for impaired drivers on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. During the 2014-2015 school year, this service provided rides for over 16,000 passengers.