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Student’s fury: The curse of the discontinued Busch Gardens pass

A beloved discount offered soley to USF students is no longer available due to claims of a lack of interest. It is up to the students to raise their voice in order to save the best benefit offered at USF. 

As the new school year began, many were looking forward to relaxing after exams at Busch Gardens knowing they could easily pick up a pass for an affordable price. Now, students are being told they will no longer have access to the best perk offered by USF, the Busch Gardens student ticket.

Why? Florida is no longer the carefree vacation destination of the U.S.

After a summer filled with shootings, alligator attacks and Zika paranoia, tourists are no longer flocking to the Sunshine State. As a result, many of the tourist attractions are restructuring their business model to continue to make a profit reflective of former years.

USF students are feeling the brunt of the revised business outlooks this semester as Busch Gardens announced it would no longer be offering the USF student ticket, which cost $50 and allowed students unlimited access to the park for the academic year.

The decision to forgo the discount was apparently due to a lack of interest by students, according to Busch Gardens. That argument has no validity and many students are raising their voice in opposition to the ban.

“Get the Busch Gardens USF Pass Reinstated!” is an online petition that was created on Aug. 8 and has already gained over 2,000 signatures.

USF students receive a discount at many local restaurants and shops, but Busch Gardens was inarguably the best perk available. The park is directly across the street and Falcon’s Fury is visible from many locations on campus.

The Bull Runner shuttles student for free to the park, making visiting a breeze and cutting the cost of parking on site.

After a grueling day of classes and exams, many students would head over to blow off steam on the Shiekra or explore the “African Savanna” on a safari. Now that release is gone, and students are being told they must buy a $99 “Fun Card,” which is only good through Dec. 31, or $168 for an annual pass.

Paying three times the price for an annual ticket is not an option for most students.  The Busch Gardens ticket was a major benefit for students and should be reinstated.

In fact, adding theme park perks for establishments like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios is on Student Government’s agenda for this school year, so losing access to our neighbor attraction is a huge blow to the campaign.

"Students are absolutely upset," student body president Chris Griffin told the Tampa Bay Times. "I've already had a lot of students in my office asking about the pass and what we're doing to bring it back."

Griffin said he is attempting to meet with Bush Gardens to discuss reinstating the pass.

Students may be frugal, but when they decide to take a break, they are not hesitant to empty their wallets chasing a good time. It would be wise of Busch Gardens to seek their business.

Read more on the discountinuing of the student discount HERE.