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Semester begins with new transportation options

Published: January 20, 2011, 2:46 am ET
Collegian Reporter

The University of Richmond unveiled its new transportation initiative for students, faculty and staff just in time for the spring semester.

The initiative, unveiled Monday, Jan. 10, centers on increased connectivity between campus and the city of Richmond as well as continued building of the university’s commitment to sustainability.

The university has adopted a fleet of vehicles including the Groome Transportation Spider Shuttle buses, which take students to local shopping centers and malls, GRTC connector shuttles that run along the GRTC transit route (Willow Lawn, Grove Avenue and North Thompson Street), two Zipcars that can be reserved for up to four days with a small membership fee, and the To the Bottom and Back Bus (2BNB), which can take students to popular spots such as Shockoe Bottom and the Fan.

Other additions to the transportation program include shuttles to the Richmond International Airport, the train stations and UR Downtown. The safety shuttle now has 15 stops around campus where students can board from 7 p.m. until 3:30 a.m., seven days a week.

Freshman Hayley Ross said that she felt safer knowing that the safety shuttle had longer hours.

“I like that the bus runs until 3:30 in the morning,” she said. “I feel better knowing that I can spend long hours in the library or socializing around campus and still have a ride home.”

Students will also be able to participate in the rideshare program, Zimride, by using their NetID to log into the university’s website. Zimride allows students, faculty and staff to post destinations to which they are travelling so that others who are going to the same destination can ride with them.

The new transportation initiative is another change to campus under President Edward Ayers’ Strategic Plan for the university. The plan also includes the Climate Action Plan for the university which looks to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2020 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Richmond’s new fleet of buses and vans runs on propane and the university is the first campus in the country that can claim that it runs on sustainable fuel.

According to Hossein Sadid, vice president for business and finance, the university decided to overhaul the transportation system because of the large number of students who participate in community-based learning and volunteer work off campus.

“One thing was becoming clear,” Sadid said. “With our commitment to community learning, we didn’t have transportation infrastructure to make that work.”

Sadid hopes that the new transportation system will encourage faculty, staff and students to connect with different parts of the city and become less dependent on their cars.

“We will continue fine-tuning [the transportation system] to maximize the needs of our community,” Sadid said.

Contact reporter Bria Eulitt at bria.eulitt@richmond.edu

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