Free rides week looks to break bus stigmas

Feb. 23, 2015

April Wefler
awefler@uccs.edu

Parking and Transportation Services is partnering with Mountain Metropolitan Transit to offer free bus rides to all students, faculty and staff during the week of Feb. 23.

According to sustainable transportation assistant Matthew Driftmier, it’s an effort to break negative stigmas about city buses.

“There’s this common conception that occurs all across the nation that buses are dirty, they’re broken down, they’re unsafe, that people shouldn’t feel like they can get on them,” he said. “That’s almost never what happens with buses system-wide.”

Riders must show a valid UCCS ID to the bus driver for a free ride.

Jim Spice, executive director of Parking and Transportation, said that Mountain Metro asked Parking and Transportation to send out a survey to housing students asking why they don’t ride the bus.

“A common theme that we saw was ‘I don’t know how,’” he said.

“A lot of what we’ve been getting in feedback across the campus community is more along the lines of ‘well, I’ve never ridden the bus before, but I sure would like to,’ so hopefully that kind of exploratory spirit will spread through the campus,” Driftmier said.

As a result, Metro and Residence Life and Housing are offering resident travel training on Feb. 23 at 3 p.m. in the Lift Lounge at Summit Village. The 30 to 45 minute training will teach residents about the bus system.

Afterward, attendees will take the bus downtown to Poor Richard’s. The bookstore is offering 10 percent off in all of their stores to all members of the UCCS community.

The graduate school will take the bus to Trinity Brewing Co. for a social with their dean on Feb. 26, and the MOSAIC office will take international students to Manitou Springs on Feb. 28.

“The entire campus has really pulled together to make this a very successful event,” Driftmier, senior political science major and associate chief justice of the Student Government Association, said.

Parking and Transportation is also hosting a Bus Selfie contest, which is modeled after a recent contest by the Pueblo Police Department.

Anyone riding the bus can snap a picture, whether of themselves, their group or with a bus driver as long as it doesn’t affect bus operation and then upload it to the Parking and Transportation’s Facebook page.

The winner will receive a $100 gift pack from the UCCS Bookstore.

“Mountain Metro Transit actually has one of the better bus systems that I’ve ever used,” said Driftmier.

He added that he has taken public transportation in other cities, such as Washington D.C. and Seattle.

“With Mountain Metro, you have very clean buses, they’re very safe. Every bus has a camera in it; all the bus drivers are extremely courteous. I’ve never met one that wasn’t extremely nice and helpful,” he said.

“Right now our campus is underserved with public transit and that deeply affects a lot of our students,” he added. “The entire point of the week is just to see what general UCCS ridership would look like.”

William Whitfield, parking manager for Parking and Transportation, is looking forward to trying out the bus for the first time.

“I certainly plan on doing it one day, maybe going down for lunch because I haven’t had the opportunity to take the bus so I’m kind of excited about that,” he said.

Spice agreed with Whitfield.

“I’ve never taken the city bus, either, so I’m looking forward to trying it as well, riding from my house to campus,” he said.

Bus route maps can be found in the Parking and Transportation lobby and the University Center sells metro bus passes year-round. The Mountain Metro website at mmtransit.com also provides route-planning information.

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