ASU offers free transportation on, between campuses

ASU helps all students, including those that may not own a vehicle, get to campus using transportation resources, such as car rental services, transit passes and the newly-named free intercampus shuttles.

More than 43,000 students and staff members ride the intercampus shuttles each month, according to ASU Parking and Transit Services.

The Gold route operates between the Tempe and Polytechnic campuses, and the Maroon route goes between the Tempe, Downtown and West campuses. The Gold route leaves every hour while the Maroon route leaves every 30 minutes.

Shuttle riders do not need to prove that they are students or staff.

Parking and Transit Services spokeswoman Shereen Shaw said the University provides information on the shuttles to students and staff only to ensure that others do not ride the buses.

The shuttles’ names were changed at the beginning of the semester to help students and identify the routes more easily.

“We received feedback from students that were having difficulty identifying what shuttle they were boarding,” Shaw said. “By having these shorter names, we can make all of our signage be very visual.”

Signs at each stop allow riders to differentiate between the routes, she said.

“We wanted to make sure that our route names really displayed our University spirit,” Shaw said.

Students who live close to campus and do not have a car can use Zipcar, which allows students enrolled in the program to borrow vehicles parked on campus for an hourly rate.

The hourly rate starts at $8 and varies on weekends and weeknights.

The fee to join is $25, and students will receive a $35 credit on their Zipcar access card after joining.

“You drive away as if it’s your own car,” Shaw said.

ASU offers other methods for students to get to campus, Shaw said.

There are two types of public transportation passes: the student U-Pass and the Platinum Pass for staff members.

Both passes work for a whole school year and can be used on the Metro Light Rail or Valley Metro buses.

“It truly is an all-access pass,” Shaw said. “Students can use it over the weekend or for reasons that are not school-related.”

During fiscal year 2012, ASU students and staff purchased around 10,800 transit passes.

The Ecopass works as an addition to the transit passes and includes 30 days of parking in a designated location.

The Ecopass, which was introduced in the fall of 2011, has been purchased by 110 people.

“It allows for those occasions when you need to drive,” Shaw said.

The best option for students and staff who drive to campus is purchasing a parking permit, Shaw said.

There are 26,000 permit holders at ASU, and the rates vary depending on the parking structure.

Carpool groups have parking permit perks, Shaw said.

ASU offers 10 days of free parking for every carpool group and assigned spaces close to campus.

The group has to purchase an individual parking permit and then let PTS know they will carpool to get the perks, Shaw said.

The Flash shuttle can help students who drive to the Tempe campus, Shaw said.

The shuttle operates every school day around the perimeter of the Tempe campus.

“It helps students get from their parking lot to their classes,” she said. “They can just hop aboard for free, and it would take them to their final campus destination.”

Each month, the Flash shuttle has about 33,000 riders.

More than 17,500 people ride their bicycles each day across all four ASU campuses.

To help the riders, PTS has worked with the University Architects to determine how many bicycle racks are needed and where they should go.

ASU encourages students to ride bicycles, Shaw added.

“We make sure that we have lots of bike racks available,” she said. “The University Architects is concerned with placing them strategically to maintain the aesthetics.”

Dance freshman Sydney Jackson rides her bicycle to get to her classes every day.

“If I didn’t live close by, I would consider driving,” she said, “but I prefer to bike because it’s cheap.”

Jackson said she read about other transportation methods for ASU students before starting school but has not used any of them.

“I don’t really get how they’re organized,” she said. “I guess you just have to sit down (for) 10 minutes and figure it out.”

If she had a car, she would still try to use her bicycle often, Jackson said.

“I feel like (parking permits) are really expensive,” she said. “I’m sure there’s more to it, but off the bat, it sounds too expensive. As long as no one steals my bike, I will keep using it.”

Jackson planned to take a minor offered on a different campus.

She would have used the intercampus shuttle to get there because it seems to operate smoothly, Jackson said.

Electrical engineering graduate student Sabarna Choudhuri walks to the Tempe campus every day.

Choudhuri walks because he lives very close, but he said ASU does a good job to promote transportation.

“The U-Pass is very affordable,” he said. “For the ones that need to travel to other campuses, they are aware of different ways to get there.”

Choudhuri said he likes seeing so many bicycles and skateboards on campus.

“There’s enough space around,” he said. “It’s pretty good that people use them.”

 

Reach the reporter at dpbaltaz@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @dpalomabp