Mississippi State University’s S.M.A.R.T. transit system now has a new route that transports members of the Starkville-MSU area to the Golden Triangle Regional Airport (GTRA).
A partnership between the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), MSU and the City of Starkville provided funding for the new route, and was made official on Jan. 4 through a ribbon cutting ceremony in GTRA’s airport terminal.
According to a University press release, GTR Director Mike Hainsey said the GTRA route will help the airport better serve its clients.
“We’re very excited about this,” Hainsey said in the release, “Our No. 1 client is Mississippi State University through its faculty, staff and students. This just makes it easier to get to the airport, and for small airports like ours, it’s all about convenience.”
The new GTRA route will make four daily round trips to Walmart, then the Mill, and finally the airport. It will arrive an hour before scheduled departure times and will remain at the airport 25 minutes after passengers return.
Angelia Knight, director of MBA programs at MSU, said the new shuttle route provides convenience.
“I think students and faculty will appreciate the shuttle route,” Knight said. “I’m thinking about international students in particular, for whenever they want to fly home. Instead of driving two or three hours to catch a flight, or having to get a friend, they can take the shuttle.”
In addition to convenience for international students, Knight said she and her husband would benefit from new shuttle route as well.
“I know for my husband and myself, we prefer to drive out of GTR because we realized the closest airport is two and a half hours away and who wants to come in from a long trip just to drive that far back,” she said. “This is great because you won’t have to pay the parking fees when flying. When I lived in Tuscaloosa, I really wish there had been a shuttle route like this.”
Courtney Muhtaris, freshman meteorology major, said she has her own car, but the GTRA route is something she thinks will help students in general.
“That’s a very smart idea because a lot of people on campus don’t have a car or transportation,” Muhtaris said. “For people that live far away, they probably flew in to town. So instead of getting a taxi to come over here, you can ride the shuttle. I don’t see any problem with the new route. I’ve actually never rode the shuttle because I have a car of my own, but from what I’ve heard from other people, it’s very helpful because people get trips to Walmart and other places.”
Tiara Trotter, sophomore biochemistry major, also said she sees the new route as a great help for her.
“Coming from students who don’t have cars, this is still great because you don’t have to provide gas money or try to find a ride or get a car fixed,” Trotter said. “The shuttles here take you where you need to go. I’m from Illinois, and my parents live a distance away. I don’t have to call them or get help going anywhere because I can just ride the shuttle.”
For more information on GTR, visit www.gtra.com.