Long Beach State is known for, among many things, being a “commuter campus.”
According to the Long Beach State data set for 2017-18, 80% of undergraduate students commute to campus. Due to the high communter rate, the university has been working hard to find ways that will help reduce the school’s carbon footprint.
There are three common methods in which commuters get to school: personal vehicle, bus, and ride sharing apps.
Two reporters put each method to the test and rated which of the three methods were the most effective in these categories: convenience, cost, comfort and time. They rated each category on a scale from one to 10, and gave each experience a final score.
Zulema’s experience — Traveling from South Central Los Angeles
I left home at 10 a.m., the usual routine. I drove on Route 110 South and Interstate 405 South and got to school at 10:42 a.m.
I found parking around 10:51 a.m. which was surprisingly fast. Finding parking in less than 10 minutes is always a win for me.
I paid for the all day permit (because the broke life is real and I do not have $140 to spend on a parking permit). Sadly, the campus shuttle had just passed so I walked across campus and ended up being about five minutes late to my class.
I love the freedom of driving myself and being able to leave campus during breaks between classes. For cost, I usually spend $30 a week on gas going to and from school twice a week as well as $18 a week on parking.
I left home at 9 a.m. assuming it would take me an extra hour considering that I had to take two buses and a train to get to school. It was an eight minute walk to the bus stop, and the Metro 48 bus got there around 9:10 a.m. I paid $2 to get on the bus. It got to the Green Line station around 9:40 a.m. and I moved to the train when it arrived.
I paid $7 for the all day pass for the Metro. Because I got distracted, I got on the first train that came, completely forgetting that trains run in both directions. Two stops later, when I finally realized I was on the wrong train, I got off and waited for the right one.
I had to ask Siri which bus to get on when I got off of the train because I was completely lost, and she said to take the 577. When it finally came I, again, forgot to look at which direction it was going, but when I sat down common sense told me to get off before it was too late. I waited until 10:32 a.m. when the next 577 came. It got me to school at exactly 10:57 a.m. and I was able to make it right on time for my 11 a.m. class.
I struggle with anxiety on a daily basis, and leaving from Watts on public transportation definitely did not help my anxiety. There were situations I was in where I did not feel comfortable or safe. I heard a man ask a woman, “What the fuck are you looking at bitch?”
However, it was nice not having to worry about parking or paying for gas that day. I made it to class on time, but I really did not like taking two hours to get to school, and two more hours to get home.
I was really nervous about taking an Uber because I’m not big on talking to strangers and even less taking rides from them. In the morning, the app said the driver would arrive four minutes after I requested the ride, and it would cost $26.71 to get to school.
The driver himself was quiet after the initial small talk. His car smelled like onion and Little Tree Black Ice Air Freshener. On the way back, it was another $29.93.
I felt a little more comfortable than I did when I was riding the bus, but the thought of not knowing anything about the person driving me around was scary. It was, however, pretty convenient to not have to worry about driving myself, and I enjoyed how fast we got to campus. If I Ubered everyday I go to school, it would be almost $120 a week. That price was insane for me, and definitely not worth it.
Daisy’s experience — Traveling from Huntington Beach
On Monday, before I left home I checked Apple Maps a hour before my 11:30 a.m. class, just so that I knew how much time I needed to give myself to drive and then walk from the structure to class. I never realized what a luxury it is to leave on my own time until this experiment.
I took the Pacific Coast Highway all the way, which is my favorite way to get to campus because I get the oceanside view and it makes my drive more pleasing. I finally arrived to campus and parked at 11:17 a.m. and made it to class on time.
The cost of driving, in my opinion, is not awful either, it takes about $30 to fill my tank and I’m only on campus about three times a week. The only huge inconvenience about driving is the walk from the parking area to upper campus. Also, if you don’t own a parking permit then the daily passes can get expensive.
It was my first time ever taking the city bus and to be honest, I wasn’t too sure about what to expect.
Unfortunately, the bus I picked didn’t arrive for another 50 minutes after I got ready. I knew I wasn’t going to make it to class considering the OC Bus wouldn’t arrive until 1:36 p.m.
I got to the stop at 1:33 p.m. and paid $2 for a six-minute bus ride. At 1:44 p.m. I arrived at the PCH and Seventh stop, then waited 17 minutes for the bus that was supposed to take me all the way to LBSU. At 2 p.m. the bus arrived and the estimated bus ride was 37 minutes.
As soon as I was walking onto the bus, the number outside quickly changed. I thought nothing of it since it had originally said one when it pulled up and it had only arrived one minute before its estimated scheduled time. I paid another $2 and took a seat. The driver then made an odd turn and went back around the same way we came from.
I looked at her confused and she asked if we actually meant to get on the other bus that pulled up to the same exact stop a second after she picked us up.
Fortunately, the driver was nice and gave us a free daily pass that we could use to get to Long Beach. At this point, I started questioning if I would ever make it to campus.
The next bus arrived on time and I triple checked that it was the right bus this time. Finally, I was on my way once again. I got to the last stop and then had to transfer to the 121 LB Transit.
I had never felt so relieved to get to school. It took me almost 3 hours just to get to campus. The school, without traffic, is typically a 20-minute-drive from my house and so having had a 3 hour long experience just to get to campus definitely made me appreciate private transportation a lot more.
My Uber experience started Tuesday morning. My goal was to make it on-time to my 8 a.m. At 7:26 my Uber arrived to my complex and I was off to school with an estimated arrival time of 7:55 a.m.
We quickly struck up a conversation about Long Beach and our lives. She talked about being from Egypt and she said she has lived in America for a decade now with her kids and husband. She told me about life in Egypt and the culture of its people.
Before I knew it, I had arrived to school and she dropped me off right in front of class in the University Theater building. Normally that walk from the parking structure would have taken almost 20 minutes, but I had the luxury of not having to walk uphill and 5 extra minutes to get settled in class. The total cost of taking an Uber to and from school for me was $28.
In the end, as sad as it is to say, for the school and our carbon footprint, the most convenient method of transportation for the both of us was driving.
The bus had some safety concerns, timing issues and was not a reliable method of transportation. Ride sharing apps were convenient but in the end would eventually become way too expensive, especially for people coming from farther away.