A free ticket to ride

University students deserve a light rail fare-free zone through campus.

by Daily Editorial Board

As construction to the light rail comes to a close on campus this year, the Minnesota Daily reported on Sept. 3 that negotiations are still ongoing in determining the logistics and cost of a fare-free zone for students between the 19th Avenue and Cedar Avenue station and the northeast corner of University Avenue and 23rd Avenue Southeast.

The Daily article also reported that the Minnesota Student Association has been pushing for a fare-free zone since last fall, and while its implementation should be an easy decision, Metro Transit may request the University cover the cost of the zone for its students.

Construction on the light rail’s Green Line (commonly referred to as the Central Corridor, connecting downtown Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul via University Avenue) began in 2010, resulting in the partial closure of the Washington Avenue Bridge and a multitude of other road closures farther east on campus.

While the completion of the Green Line is largely considered a positive and valuable infrastructure investment for the area, the process of its construction has undoubtedly created inconveniences for students on campus and businesses located along the Central Corridor. Bus routes to and from campus have had to be modified — including the route for Campus Connectors — and University researchers have voiced significant concerns about how vibrations from the light rail will affect sensitive research.

Metro Transit officials should support a fare-free zone through campus and shouldn’t ask the University for compensation. The University community has long waited through a destructed, disordered campus for the light rail’s completion. When that time comes, it is only fair that students receive a free ride for their patience.