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University has options for students without licenses

April 15, 2015

For college students living on campus, having a driver’s license and car is an option not a necessity.

According to a study done by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, in the past few decades fewer young adults are getting driver’s licenses. The average young person aged 16 to 34 drove 23 percent fewer miles in 2009 than in 2001.

The report also shows that a growing number of young Americans don’t have drivers license. From 2000 to 2010, Americans aged 14 to 34 without licenses increased from 21 percent to 26 percent.

There are different reasons why people might not have a driver’s license. Some UW-River Falls students said they don’t feel they need a driver’s license.

“I just have anxiety about taking the driver’s test. I never really needed a car anyways, I could bike everywhere I needed to go,” said James Martin, a UWRF student. “I kept putting it off to get my license; I usually get rides from friends if they’re going somewhere else. I don’t go home too often.”

UWRF has options available for students without driver’s licenses to get around. There is a ride-share board located in the University Center by Freddy’s C-Store.

There are two options for posting to the board: drivers and riders. Drivers and people looking for a ride can post their name, phone number, destination and date of departure. UWRF freshman Ethan Schmidt said he has used the ride board in the University Center before.

“I made a friend using that board in the [University Center] once,” Schmidt said. “Usually my friend can drive me places and I can give them gas money.”

It’s hard to tell how many students make use of the ride-share board in the University Center, but it’s still a resource for students to get in contact with other people for potential carpooling.

Similar to the ride-share board in the University Center, there is a Facebook group called “UWRF Carpooling.” The group page has 532 members and people post on the page where they would like to go and when. The concept is similar to the board in the University Center; riders post where they’re going and when, and people post where they would like to go.

Most of the posts are for people who are looking to go home on the weekends. For people who want to get around River Falls one option is the taxi. The city of River Falls has a taxi service available for students. A student ID must be provided and destinations must be within city limits. Some destinations that are free to students with ID are the Vibrant Health Clinic, Pierce County Reproductive Health Services and the St. Croix Sexual Assault Response Team Center.

Taxis can be a less expensive alternative to driving. Some college students view the costs of having and maintaining a car as a frivolous expense. The cost of the initial car buying, registration, insurance and the general maintenance of the car could total to $9,122, according to a report done by AAA.

College towns typically have stores that meet basic needs for college students. They can find jobs on campus as well as jobs in town within walking distance from apartments or dorm rooms. Bicycles are a common vehicle for college students to get around.

UWRF has places scattered throughout campus where students can lock up their bicycles. Located outside resident halls and the education buildings, bicycles are a cheaper substitute for getting around campus.

Students have the option to register their bicycle with the University Police. This service is free and can possible return registered bicycles if they are recovered stolen.

The university also makes it possible for students to rent bicycles. Falcon Outdoor Adventures has mountain bicycles and road bicycles available for rental, helmets are also available.

UWRF also has the “Bike Shop” which provides students with basic bicycle tune-ups for $25 and advanced tune ups for $40. According to the Bike Shop’s webpage, the Bike Shop wants to provide the UWRF community with education, tools and experience needed to responsibly ride a bicycle on campus.

Falcon Outdoor Adventure trip leader Jameson Coopman said a lot of the people renting bicycles are international students.

According to the UW System student statistics, for fall 2014-2015, UWRF has 240 international students enrolled. Cars are harder to come by for non-U.S. citizens, therefore getting around the area may be more difficult for them.

According to Homeland Security, if a student is an “F” or “M” student in the U.S. they can apply for a license. F students refer to students attending an academic program, such as a university or college, high school, private elementary school, a religious seminary, a conservatory or another academic institution, including a language training program. M student refers to students attending a vocational or other nonacademic school, not including a language training program.

Biking is a good way to get around River Falls, but people who are looking to get off campus can also make use of a few programs offered at UWRF. A couple options for getting off campus includes the Twin Cities Shuttle and the Get on the Bus program.

The Twin Cities Shuttle is service that will take students from the University Center to the Mall of America. Trips happen once or twice a month, and one round trip ticket costs $10. There are typically two departure times from the University Center: at 9 a.m. and at 3 p.m. Students arrive back to campus at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets for the shuttle need to be purchased in at least 24 hours in advance and can be purchased online at marketplace.uwrf.edu.

Another option for getting off campus is the Get on the Bus program hosted by Student Life. Get on the Bus is a program with events happening throughout the semester with trips to the Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Mall of America, the Midtown Global Market and the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre.

UWRF has many opportunities for students without cars or a license to still get around the area. Cheap transportation and events like Get on the Bus are ways for students to avoid the costs of owning a car and creates an opportunity to meet other students.

There are two more Twin Cities Shuttle trips scheduled for this semester, one on April 25 and one on May 9. More information about transportation options at UWRF can be found at uwrf.edu/transportation.

The Student Voice will be running several commuting stories over the next month in an effort to discover how commuting affects the campus and community.