Texas Woman’s University decided to not renew its contract with the Denton County Transportation Authority but will provide students bus tickets at a reduced rate.
The university doesn’t charge a transportation fee but would have to consider it with the increased rate DCTA is proposing, said Richard Nicholas, vice president for student life.
“We’ve been trying so hard to keep costs down to students,” he said.
TWU has paid DCTA $10,000 a year for students, faculty and staff to ride DCTA Connect buses since the university entered into its initial contract with the transportation agency in 2005, said Dee Leggett, vice president of program development with DCTA.
“Our costs have gone up,” Leggett said.
If the university renewed its contract, it would have to pay $44,000.
That’s a significant jump, Leggett said, but the rate hadn’t been changed since the initial contract. DCTA counted 50,000 trips associated with TWU last year, she said.
Bus service will still be offered, but now TWU students will have to buy ticket books from TWU’s commuter services office.
“Students who need the service can still access the service at a reduced rate,” Leggett said. “We still have three routes that serve the campus.”
A regular ticket costs $1.50, and TWU is selling tickets to students for 75 cents apiece.
“We are absorbing some costs,” Nicholas said of the tickets sold by TWU. “It’s not a great deal.”
TWU is using some of the same money it previously used to fund bus service to cover some of the cost of the tickets, he said.
The tickets, available in booklets of 10, do not expire, Nicholas said. The university has about 400 booklets, and it will buy more if needed.
The university will know more about demand for the tickets within the next two to four weeks, as students start classes, Nicholas said.
DCTA has a similar contract with the University of North Texas, which has 24 campus shuttle buses, plus students use the local fixed routes around the city, Leggett said.
The UNT buses operated by DCTA are open to the general public, but they are funded by a transportation fee UNT students pay, she said.
“I think at the end of the day we came up with a different answer [for TWU],” she said, with DCTA still providing service for TWU students.
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889.Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .