Augsburg College Freshmen clearly see transit in their future. Ninety-six percent (96%) of respondents in a student survey said that they will continue to be transit users after participating in the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership’s Go To card initiative with Metro Transit.
CCAP is committed to boosting transit use by students and employees by 5% in five years. Metro Transit developed a pilot project with the Partnership to provide each Augsburg freshman a Go To card loaded with $20 at the beginning of student orientation, with the offer that students who loaded $10 on their card by October 1 would gain $45 more in value. The Partnership set a goal of persuading 15% of the Freshman Class to spend $10 on their Go To cards, or 72 students. By October 1, 146 students had signed on, more than double the goal.
Whether new to public transit or veteran riders accustomed to paying cash for their trips, students reported inAugsburg student the survey that they loved the ease and convenience of using and re-loading the stored value Go-To Cards. Metro Transit staff, CCAP, and Augsburg Vice President of Student Affairs Ann Garvey created the eleven question survey with contributions from Augsburg’s pilot program student interns Sulin Phat and Anisa Sharif. The student interns played the key role of helping phrase questions to elicit honest, considerate responses from their peers. The resulting survey aimed to assess the core thoughts and decision making that contributed to student participation in the transit pilot program.
Augsburg studentAugsburg created its Augsburg Seminar Go-To Card Pilot Program to connect students with the local community via greater use of public transit. The college also aimed to familiarize students with public transit and establish a new generation of “transit natives” who would begin the habit of lifelong public transit use.
Many responded that peer-to-peer communication throughout the semester, on-campus efforts let by the pilot program’s student interns, and in-class reminders from professors touting the program all helped the pilot participants remember to use transit, and feel comfortable doing so.
One of the most important lessons learned is that integrating transit into the Freshman orientation curriculum creates many layers of benefit for students. CCAP is hoping to build on this model by adding more college partners who are interested in taking a similar approach with their orientation programs.