Monterey Salinas Transit role in pedestrian-friendly campus

Founded in 1994, making it the second youngest institution of higher learning in the California State University system, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) – one mile from the ocean at Monterey Bay, and just a few miles from Monterey and Salinas – covers 1,387 acres. That’s a lot of territory to travel as any member of the CSUMB community can attest.

The new draft CSUMB Master Plan carries forth and expands upon the pedestrian-centric strategies included in the previous 2007 Master Plan which has a pedestrian-friendly and pedestrian-safe campus. New construction currently underway, as well as planned for the future, is based on high-density protocols, allocating the outer areas of the campus for vehicle parking and traffic. Pedestrian-friendly means more walking and using alternative means of transport.

An important partner in making a pedestrian-friendly campus a reality is the Monterey Salinas Transit (MST) Authority. A nice addition from an aesthetic point of view – especially during the fall and winter months – is the MST historic-looking trolleys that circulate on campus picking and dropping off students. Out of a total of 62 MST routes, which cover a good portion of the coast from San Jose in Santa Clara County to Big Sur and Paso Robles near San Luis Obispo – “seven directly serve CSUMB with an additional three serving close by at the Dunes,” said Lisa Rheinheimer, MST Director of Planning and Marketing. “Based on the MST Transit App usage, the most popular used routes are Lines 16, 18, 25 and 26.”

MST Trolley on CSUMB campus
MST Trolley on CSUMB campus. Photo by Yollette Merritt.

“Data shows on average over 2,000 unique riders – students, faculty and staff – use the bus at least once each academic year over the last several years,” said Matthew McCluney, CSUMB senior campus planner. “CSUMB students, faculty and staff took over 250,000 rides on the MST bus network over the 2017-2018 academic year. Based on the CSUMB Fall 2018 Travel Survey, with approximately one-third of the campus as respondents, approximately 9 percent of all students who responded (including east campus residents) take the bus as their primary commute mode to class,” commented McCluney.

Many new or transfer students do not realize members of the CSUMB community, including faculty and staff, benefit from a unique plan where all are able to ride all MST buses for “free” with their Otter Card. The university contributes a fee to help offset costs funded by a portion of the student’s Materials, Services and Facilities fee allocated by the Student Fee Advisory Committee.

CSUMB student on MST bus.
Photo courtesy of MST.

The following reasons as to “why a CSUMB student, faculty or staff member should give MST a try” was shared by Carl Sedoryk, General Manager/CEO of MST, who states that “you don’t have to be straight A student to see that using MST makes a lot of sense.”

Save money

AAA estimates the cost of owning and maintaining a car as over $10,000 per year. Why waste money on parking, fuel, maintenance, insurance and financing on a car that sits idle 90 percent of the time when you can use your CSUMB ID card to use MST to take you anywhere you need to go around Monterey County and beyond?

Save time

Instead of sitting behind the wheel, use your precious time more productively by catching up on your studies or stream the latest podcasts and videos on MST’s wi-fi enabled buses.

Save the earth

Single occupancy vehicles remain the greatest mobile source of greenhouse gas emission impacting our environment. A single person commuting alone by car, who switches a 20 mile round-trip commute to existing public transportation, can reduce his or her annual CO2 emissions by 4,800 pounds per year, equal to a 20 percent reduction in all greenhouse gases produced by a typical two-adult, two-car household. By eliminating one car and taking public transportation instead of driving, a savings of up to 30 percent of carbon dioxide emissions can be realized.

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