We need a better way to get students to the airport

By Holly Luttrell | Reporter

With the holiday season fast approaching, several Baylor students will soon be heading to nearby airports to travel home. While some Baylor students utilize the local Waco airport, there are a limited number of airlines and flights offered there. The majority of students flying out of Texas make use of the bigger airports in Dallas or Austin. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Dallas-Love Field and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport serve most Bears during heavy travel seasons, yet students who do not have cars still do not have a convenient way to get to and from the airport.

According to the Baylor website, the university has students from all 50 states, Washington D.C. and 89 various countries. With many out of state students traveling during the semester, there is a need for an effective way for them to get from campus to one of the nearby airports..

As of right now, the Waco Streak is the only shuttle offered to students that runs at several times throughout the day and follows a direct course from campus to an airport. This shuttle, however, only runs between Waco and either Dallas-Fort Worth or Dallas-Love Field. Reservations fill up very quickly during busy travel times such as the holidays and at $89 one-way or $169 round-trip, the cost adds up rapidly.

When shuttles don’t suffice, many Baylor students turn to each other for rides to Dallas or Austin. While the idea of students pitching in and getting one another where they need to go seems great, the reality is often far less optimistic.

I come from out of state, so I have had friends make the 90 mile drive to Dallas just to get me to an airport. I’ve ridden with strangers and I’ve paid for a painfully expensive Uber ride when a carpool I had counted on fell through. When you have a flight to catch, the notion of relying on others to get you to the airport on time seems daunting when plans can change very quickly. Students who are not riding with a friend or paying a hefty fine to a transportation service are often trusting a ride they found online – an unfamiliar face they can simply hope will be true to their word and not disrupt their travel plans.

A larger, Baylor-run shuttle is an addition to the university that could benefit everyone. At peak travel times, students could pay a reasonable fare to get to and from the airport in a vehicle that followed a regimented route and that they felt safe in. Baylor would be transporting these students, so they, rather than outside companies, would profit. With routes traveling to Dallas airports and the airport in Austin, students would not have to go through the stress of trying to orchestrate a ride or find a carpool through the internet.

Baylor is continuing to grow and encourage diversity by welcoming students from different origins and backgrounds. In order to encourage this, we need a better system to help these students travel to and from Waco. We are not lucky enough to have a large airport at just a few minutes away from us, but we do have several that are not that far. We just need a more reliable, safe and affordable way to get there.