Undoubtedly, everyone on West Chester’s campus has wrestled with the issue of transportation. Without a car, it’s easy to feel stranded, bound to the life of a wandering pedestrian and fatigued by the thought of trekking into town for necessities. With a car, however, one must prepare to scour for a parking space and become an expert at weaving through meandering students on the streets. Thanks to university initiatives, and specifically the Office of Sustainability, students and faculty can take a ride and rest easy. With over 250 parking spaces lost to construction, the university began efforts to increase alternative transportation on campus. Thus, the Uptown Loop Shuttle Bus was born.
West Chester University now has a 14-passenger school bus that will run from 6:45 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. on a continuous loop Monday through Friday. The bus makes a trip around downtown, including stops at the Chester County Hospital and the Bradford Plaza shopping center- which includes a Giant grocery store, Walgreens pharmacy, Dollartree and more. The Uptown Loop Shuttle launched this past Tuesday, Sept. 4 at 6:45 a.m. with eager travelers ready to board. Student leaders, like the president of the pre-med club, attended. In particular, the president of the pre-med club expressed excitement that student volunteers can now reach the nearby hospital.
University President Christopher Fiorentino also attended, thrilled that the shuttle has “potential to reduce the number of autos on campus and provides students better access to shopping and other resources located in the Borough of West Chester.”
In an interview with Brad Flamm, the Director of the Office of Sustainability, he stated the new shuttle initiative has three goals: one, with this shuttle, fewer people need a car on campus to run errands, and therefore fewer people need a parking space, thus relieving a bit of the parking crisis. Two, this shuttle will prevent students from walking long distances in the evening hours, thereby promoting the overall safety for students and faculty members. Three, this shared mode of transportation will cut down on the number of individual cars running on campus, consequently reducing the university’s total carbon emissions and benefiting the environment.
Flamm also explained their office, and the university as a whole, works to make it not only possible, but easy for students to live on campus car-free. Along with the Uptown Loop Shuttle, the university has Zagster bikes stations throughout campus, Zipcars that can be rented by a driver 18 and older with a valid driver’s licence, the WCU shuttles that take students to and from different parts of campus, and a new program called RideAmigos that allows students to connect and carpool with one another to common locations. For more information on any of these services, visit the newly updated transportation and parking services website at www.wcupa.edu/transportation.
Becca Shoemaker is a fourth-year student majoring in communication sciences and disorders with minors in Spanish and communication studies. BS862783@wcupa.edu