April 24, 2014

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Regarding the Cornell Freshmen Bus Passes

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To the Editor:

Re: “University Assembly Supports Free TCAT Passes for Freshmen,” News, April 23.

As leaders of the United Auto Workers Local 2300, we are very concerned about the pass structure at Cornell being amended for the freshman class. Our reservations primarily lean towards the overall safety of the students themselves. Taking away the passes will make the students walk across campus to attend class, walk to and from evening events and classes in addition to commuting to and from social gatherings. These issues are real and directly affect the students themselves.

Removing the passes from the freshman class will ripple through the span of their stay at Cornell. This has the ability to increase vehicular traffic on campus, boost our carbon footprint through added automobile emissions and again make traveling the campus on foot a bit more hazardous for the students and other pedestrians. There is barely enough parking on the campus now, with the addition of more vehicles it has the potential of starting an escalation on the fares charged to park.

Thirdly we have concerns for the TCAT organization as well as the local community itself with a reduced student flow for TCAT and area businesses. TCAT is very much dependent on the Cornell ridership to keep their subsidies at a level where they are able to do business. Reducing the ridership directly affects the amount of state and federal funding that drives the budget at TCAT. There are many employees there and they do a great job! We need to keep the passes for the freshmen to allow for both the business and the local economy to continue to prosper here in Ithaca.

We also have a concern if this freshmen pass issue is granted then will Cornell try the same thing next with their own employees? The possibility does exist that they may want to again do a cost saving measure and take this benefit away from all the employees. Trying to save here and there is amounting to added issues of safety and an overall financial impact on the community in general.

Terry Sharpe

UAW Local 2300 President

Frank Howells

UAW Local 2300 TCAT Zone Chairman