Record gas prices force students to weigh commuting options for winter semester

By: Danielle Moreau

The city’s record-high gas prices are forcing some students at Red River College Polytechnic to consider other commuting options as the winter semester approaches. 

Jasmine Lontajo, a Business Administration student at RRC Polytech, has already decided her best option will be to bus to her classes, though she said it’s not ideal. 

“If I had the choice, I would definitely drive,” she said. “My bus route alone is over an hour.” 

Lontajo also said the harsh Winnipeg winters can lead to her bus running on an unpredictable schedules. 

“On top of my course load I’d prefer to not be anxious about a bus running late, which is completely out of my control,” she said.

A first-year student at Red River College Polytechnic pays for parking at the Exchange District Campus on Nov. 8./DANIELLE MOREAU

The college announced many programs will be returning to the classroom in some capacity starting in January 2022. Most programs will run with a blended schedule of online and in-person classes. 

While some students have expressed their excitement to be back after months of online learning, others have begun to consider how this adjustment will impact them.

Emma Szarek, who recently signed a petition to continue online classes, said the daily commute would be a hassle.

“The money and time getting to and from campus every day wouldn’t be worth it in my opinion,” the 24-year-old said.

Students at the Exchange District Campus also face the challenge of finding and paying for a parking spot, or moving their car to avoid being towed.

For students who live outside the city, driving is often their only option.

Jaymi Fast is entering her final semester of the Business Administration program and has yet to attend a class in person. She’s planning to make the 25-minute trek to class each day by car instead of relying on the bus. 

“The idea of public transit in Winnipeg is not my favourite thing in the world, especially during the pandemic,” Fast said.

Public transit is used by many students who live within the city limits, but frequent cases of bus violence, germs, and frigid temperatures make the option less desirable.