Traveling by car, train and foldable electric scooter, computer engineering junior Shervin Suresh has a 2 1/2-hour, one-way journey to campus this semester.
Between campus and his home in Tracy, lies more than 64 miles of train tracks that Suresh must cover in order to attend his classes at San Jose State University.
SJSU President Mary A. Papazian stated in her Fall 2017 Welcome Address, “With an estimated 15,000 students living within three miles of campus, we assuredly are not a ‘commuter school’ anymore.”
For Suresh, commuting has taken over his life.
Anthropology freshman Stephanie Murguia, commutes a half-hour from South San Jose and said she can’t imagine commuting more than two hours to campus.
“Hell no, I wouldn’t go here if I had to commute for over two hours,” Murguia said.
Suresh acknowledged that many students wouldn’t be willing to make the long trip, but he was adamant that his education is worth the ride.
“It’s not an ideal situation, I know, but I come to this school so I can study in the heart of the Silicon Valley and be a part of the CSU system,” Suresh said.
Business human resource junior Melissa Requena lives in Mountain View, and commutes from her job in Santa Clara.
Requena said that no matter how much traffic she has to sit through, she would still attend SJSU.
“There just aren’t very many school options for me, the next closest CSU is in San Francisco, and that’s equally as far,” Requena said.
Campus Village was Suresh’s home for the first two years he spent at SJSU. Everything had been arranged for him to keep living there this fall as well, but then he got a phone call.
“Housing called me in the middle of the summer to say that they were refunding my deposit because I was so low on their waitlist,” he recalled.
Suresh felt that his options were quickly slipping away. “That’s when I
started to panic.”
As the summer came to an end, housing became more limited for students wanting to live close to campus.
Suresh sought living situations with 10-month leases, but all of the apartments he looked into only dealt 12-month leases, including the complex “27 North.”
He signed a lease with 27 North, and claimed he was unaware it was a
“I wanted to live there, so I signed an application and paid a $750 deposit, but once I found out the length of the agreement, I pulled out and wasn’t able to get any of my deposit back,” Suresh said.
A spokesperson for 27 North said that the section of the contract that reads, “The Term of this Lease Contract shall begin at noon on 08/18/2018 and end at 9:00 a.m. on 07/31/2019,” should have made the term of the lease clear.
Suresh gave up on his search for student housing and accepted having to consider a long commute time to the university of which he has already dedicated much of his time.
For the first time in his college experience, he had to research local bus
and train routes.
He eventually settled on taking the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) train because it was close to his home.
His schedule now includes a 20-minute drive to the Tracy station, an hour and 50 minutes on the train en-route to the San Jose Diridon station, and 10 minutes from the station to campus on his electric scooter.
“The electric scooter was definitely worth the $1,100 investment,” Suresh said. “It is much more convenient than looking for a pay-to-use scooter.”
Another reason Suresh said he chooses to ride the ACE train is because Associated Students’ Transportation Solutions incurs half of the cost of SJSU students who use the service.
According to Transportation Solutions’ 2017 Commuter Survey, 4.1 percent of student commuters use regional transit services like the express.
A majority of commuter students, 41.3 percent drive alone, while 28.7 percent of commuter students take VTA or the light rail.
Suresh said he will try looking for housing next semester, but isn’t optimistic that he’ll find a place to call home before the school year ends in May.
“I doubt there is any place that would want to give me just a 5-month lease,”