The University charges each student $12.50 every semester for a transportation fee. This supports campus shuttles and circulators, and also supplements the U-Pass agreement with Metro Transit. All students benefit in some way from the campus connectors and circulators, but some get more out of their $12.50 than others.
The connectors sufficiently serve students who live in the superblock residence halls, students living on the south side of Washington Avenue Southeast by Coffman Union and those who live on the West Bank. Getting to the St. Paul campus is as simple as walking a few blocks to Coffman, Weaver-Densford Hall or Blegen Hall, and hopping on.
However, a huge portion of the student body has to do a lot more work to get to a connector. Dinkytown is an area of campus that is populated largely by commuter undergraduate students. North of University Avenue Southeast, students are cut off from easy access to connectors. In order to get to St. Paul, these students are forced to walk or bike to either Coffman Union or behind the Gopher Lot near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Oak Street. This is a huge inconvenience for many students. They have to plan for at least 15 minutes of walking before they can get to a bus that will take another five to 15 minutes, depending on their destination.
It is unfair that all students have to pay the same fee when they are so unequally serviced. The Minnesota Student Association should consider lobbying for a new route with the sole purpose of serving the Dinkytown neighborhood with stops along Fourth Street and University Avenue Southeast. The loop could run from Oak Street, down Fourth Street, turn left at 10th Avenue and left down University Avenue Southeast, with numerous stops along the way. This route could not only get students to the Northrop Mall and Knoll areas, but also make it easier for many to get to the St. Paul campus.
Students are all paying the same amount of money for transportation around campus. Attempts should be made to service them equally.