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Partnership for bus passes helps students where they need it most

Makaylee Smith

A vehicle accident put Gateway Technical College student Makaylee Smith in a tough spot.

While she had no useable vehicle, she still had to take in-person classes at Gateway – but the cost to take an Uber to and from the college was $32 round trip each time. Not a great situation for any college student.

A partnership between Gateway and Racine Transit helped to solve her problem, though. Makaylee received an annual RYDE Racine bus pass, allowing her to take the buses to and from the college for free. 

“I don’t have a car and this helps me to get to my classes,” says Makaylee. “Not all my classes are online, so I have to come to the college. This helps me to be able to make it to my classes.”

Other bus pass recipients made comments similar to Makaylee. Many have pointed to a city bus as their main method of transportation to Gateway but have also said finding the finances to pay for it has been a struggle. Others have said they are single parents attending Gateway in to earn a degree and better their lives, and that reliable transportation remains one of the biggest challenges they face.

The effort has resulted in 300 annual bus passes being provided to students this year, which will help ensure those who are most in need of transportation will have access to it and their classes. 

“Access to reliable transportation is an issue for many of our students,” says Stacy Riley, Gateway vice president, Student Services and Enrollment Management. “Many times, it’s because of the costs of owning and operating a vehicle. It’s a hurdle to completing their degree. 

“This partnership gives students a way to access reliable transportation to complete their coursework. The partnership with RYDE Racine has helped to remove a hurdle many students experience every day.”

Many students have already received a bus pass. Gateway does still have some passes available for enrolled students, visit a Student Services Center to receive a pass.