Rising gas prices across the United States have forced many students to rethink how they get to and around UCCS. According to AAA, as of April 4, gasoline prices averaged $3.92 per gallon in El Paso County, compared to an average of $2.85 per gallon just last year. This is an added expense for university students that many can’t afford.
However, UCCS offers several programs to help students save money at the pump and get to campus more sustainably. Interim director of sustainability Kimberly Reeves explained how UCCS supports students who want to use alternative transportation including bicycles, buses and carpooling.
“I would love for our campus community to ask, ‘how can I get there?’ That would mean there were enough, supported, visible transportation options that you have truly a choice. It doesn’t mean you give up your car, but it means you have the option to use it less.” Reeves wrote via email.
According to UCCS’ Communique, UCCS ranked as one of the most bicycle-friendly campuses in the nation for the second time in a row.
UCCS attributes this award to the many resources for bicyclists. According to Reeves, these include the Pedal Perks bike incentive program, lockers, repair stations, and bike classes and rentals at the SOLE center.
Public transportation including the Mountain Metro and UCCS shuttles can also get students to and around campus.
“The Mountain Metro fixed-route bus system stops outside the University Center and the Ent Center for the Arts. This is an option if you can commit the time it takes to traverse the city,” Reeves said.
As of June 2021, Mountain Metro Bus services are no longer free for students. Bus fares range depending on the student’s needs, but the basic fare for one ride for an adult costs $1.25. A month-long pass on Mountain Metro Bus lines costs $63.00, according to the Mountain Metro website.
UCCS shuttles are free to students and can get them around campus during the day. According to UCCS’ Parking and Transportation website, shuttles operate five days a week from 6:40 a.m. to 10:20 p.m. and run every 15-20 minutes. They do not run during weekends, breaks or holidays.
A final option is UCCS supported Waze Carpooling. According to UCCS, drivers who sign their car up for ‘carsharing’ can earn up to 54 cents per mile and have a designated parking spot for their vehicle on campus when transporting other students.
“Carpooling and sharing the cost of a parking pass could be one, realistic way to get to campus instead of SOV [single occupancy vehicles]. Make sure to add all vehicles onto that one pass,” Reeves said.