By Stacy Lange
5:21 p.m. EST, January 9, 2012
Getting around just got a little easier for students at two universities in Lackawanna County thanks to a deal reached between the Lackawanna County Transit System and the two universities.
Monday Lackawanna County Transit, or COLTS, started offering free rides to students at the University of Scranton and Marywood University.
Joe Bruzzesi, a sophomore at the University of Scranton, lives on campus and doesn't have a car. He said getting around can sometimes be difficult.
"No, I don't have a car on campus and I think traveling is pretty bad, to be honest. I think a bus is going to be valuable to students here because a lot of people don't have a way to get anywhere," Bruzzesi said.
In an effort to fix that problem, two the two universities in Scranton and COLTS have reached a deal. The University of Scranton and Marywood University will pay COLTS a yearly rate. In exchange, students from both schools can ride for free.
Before, students were restricted to only two bus routes. Now, by just showing a student ID, they can go anywhere that COLTS goes for free.
"It saves a lot of money, and you know students are always on a tight budget. A lot of times friends will just hop a ride or something like that. None the less, it's a good useful system for the students," said Marywood senior Christian Wagner.
The new program is in addition to the county's Smart Ride Program that connects the two campuses. COLTS now hopes to connect students with the rest of the city. The idea is if it's easier for the students to get downtown, the more they will use downtown businesses.
"That would be nice. Around here you don't ever get to see anyone at the "U" or even know that, even though we're close together that we even exist. So, that's a positive too," said Marywood senior Ryan Duggan.
The free bus ride program begins Monday just as students are starting the semester. All that is needed is a student ID to cash in on the program.
Transit officials said they hope to make the same deal with other colleges in the county.