University of Richmond has unveiled its Pony Express shuttle loop this year, giving students access to some of Richmond’s most scenic and well-known locations for the first time .
The Pony Express was born from the campus’ Earth Lodge, described on its website as a “community for naturalists by naturalists.” Participating students were looking for a way to encourage their peers to discover new parts of the city. Often, the infamous “Richmond Bubble” leaves students content with their campus surroundings, citing lack of transportation as the main reason for their contentment. The Pony Express has given those unfamiliar with Richmond’s natural gems a chance to see them, taking students to Pony Pasture, Maymont Park, and Belle Isle/Brown’s Island.
“Last year, Richmond was voted the best river town in the whole nation,” said Lucia Anderson, the university’s outdoor and facilities coordinator. ”It’s pretty unusual to have what we have, right smack dab in the middle of this city.”
The Pony Express shuttle loop runs for only the first five Fridays and Saturdays of the school year, wrapping up on Sept. 21. It runs three cycles during each of those days, leaving campus at 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m., giving students without cars the chance to explore on their own terms.
Yet despite the appeal and variety of the stops on the Pony Express, the shuttle has not been getting the usage that many thought it would. Shuttle driver Wayne Wright has driven the Pony Express loop multiple times, but says that it is mainly vacant.
“I haven’t had that many students. Like today—I just had, what, eight?” Wright said. He said that the Mall Crawl was typically the most crowded shuttle, which is to be expected, since many students want transportation to stores such as Target and CVS at the beginning of the year.
By the time people begin to hear about the wonders of the Pony Express, it may already be too late. Take advantage while you still can.
Contact reporter Jacob Steinfield at firstname.lastname@example.org