International students find local travel difficult, lack transportation

Photo by Kelli O'Toole/TheNews

Story by Ashley Traylor, Staff writer, and Destinee Marking, Contributing writer

Some of Murray State’s international students find it difficult to navigate the streets of Murray without a means of transportation.

“There is a community of international students, especially who come for one semester or one year, and they find it difficult to travel,” Khouland Landari, international student from Susah, Tunisia, said.

Landari came to Murray State in August and will return home in May. Before coming to Murray, she asked a Murray State alumnus, who is also from her country, about transportation.

“When he told me there is no public transportation here, I was shocked,” Landari said.

She said she asked herself, “How can I survive there?”

Susah is a big city in Tunisia and Landari said people do not own a car to commute, instead they walk or take public transportation.

Landari lives on campus, so she said she walks to places like Walmart and CVS.

During winter break, Landari said she traveled outside of Kentucky. Greater public transportation would allow her to see more places in Kentucky, such as Louisville, Frankfort and Paducah.

“As an international student, you would like to discover more places and sometimes I would love to do that by myself, so if only there was a metro here or at least a bus, it would be really, really good,” Landari said.  

If Landari doesn’t walk, then she asks a friend for a ride, which she said she doesn’t like to do.

Adam Ostman, senior from Mariestad, Sweden, also said it is annoying relying on other people for rides.

He said he recently bought a bike, which is a helpful mode of transportation because it is quicker than walking.

Ostman said if he doesn’t ride his bike, he asks his girlfriend or friend for a ride.

Before moving in with his girlfriend, Ostman lived near Five Points and would walk to class. He said the lack of sidewalks made crossing through traffic dangerous.

Ostman said transportation would be easier and safer if Murray had more sidewalks for walking and biking.

Neither Ostman nor Landari use Murray-Calloway Transit Authority.

“I know it exists, but I’ve never even looked at it,” Ostman said.

According to the Murray-Calloway Transit Authority website, their mission is to “provide safe public transportation for people of Murray and Calloway County for educational, medical, recreational and health care needs.”

Two different routes are offered by the transit authority: gold route and community route.

The gold route includes stops at Curris Center, Walmart, Diuguid Drive, Campus Evolution North and South, Station 74, Cambridge Apartments and Faculty Hall.  It makes stops between 7 a.m. and 5:10 p.m.

The gold route is $1 per ride, or Murray State students can pay $100 per semester for a bus pass.

The community route is free.

The bus stops, routes and schedule can all be found on Murray-Calloway Transit Authority’s website.

Murray State provides a shuttle to pick up international students from the Nashville International Airport one week before classes start in August and January. According to Murray State’s website, the cost is $75 for the shuttle to pick up a student. If a student arrives after the first week of the semester, the cost is $200.