UNT Shuttle System provides free alternative to parking pass

UNT Shuttle System provides free alternative to parking pass

November 02
17:25 2016

UNT partnered with Dallas County Transportation Authority to extend shuttle hours and routes to off-campus housing students and commuters, offering a free alternative to those without a parking pass.

DCTA annually grants UNT with 50,000 hours to distribute to however many buses are needed to cover all routes. With approximately 2 million boardings last year, the shuttles have become one of the most convenient ways to navigate your way around campus for students with and without accessibility to parking.

This year is the first year in UNT history that the number of parking permits sold to fill the 8,094 student parking spot was limited. Jonathan Grose, assistant director of UNT Transportation Services, accredits the limit to enrollment going up and the number of spaces staying stagnant.

“Most areas are going to be a 1.5 times sell rate ratio, so for every spot, you’ll sell 1.5 permits,” Grose said. “That way you can make sure there’s enough room for turnover but still hopefully enough spaces for everybody. That doesn’t account for people that park without a permit, though.”

Those without passes have turned to the shuttle system for free rides to and from campus.

UNT and DTCA have assigned 18 buses to nine routes that run throughout campus and the surrounding area, including the south side of Interstate 35. The buses differ by route, but all, with the exception of the Campus Cruiser, begin pick up at 7:15 a.m. and run throughout the day. Six of the nine routes run past 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The shuttle system even offers a commuter friendly route for those with longer drives.

The Colorado Express shuttle, which starts pickup as early as 7:15 a.m., includes two stops that are equivalent to a park and ride. Students can park for free in the designated parking areas and ride to and from campus until as late as 10:28 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Grose said.

“The Colorado Express comes directly to campus and goes to the Golden Triangle Mall and the Medpark Station, both of which offer free parking to UNT students intending on riding the shuttle,” Grose said.

With buses running late and frequently, students are no longer seeing parking permits as a necessity.

“I didn’t [have a parking pass] last year because in between shuttles and free parking on the weekends, I didn’t need one,” veteran shuttle rider Morgan Primm said. “If I did really need to park after 10 p.m., I’d just pay the meter.”

Primm chose to neglect the parking permit option this year as well, though she does see the downfalls. With 32 seats per bus and room for about 15 people to stand, shuttles usually fill up fast, so there is always the possibility of having to wait for the next one. If waiting isn’t something that has been planned for, students have been forced to get to their classes late. However, there is usually no more than a 15-minute wait.

“If I want to make it to class on time, I leave my apartment at least 30 minutes before my class, but the only bad thing is after 6 p.m. they only run every half hour,” Primm says.

Although having a parking pass may be easier for students who have to travel from a lot further, the shuttle provides others with a quick, easy mode of transportation, despite how busy it is.

Desjha Ellis, who is new to riding the shuttle system, offered advice to anyone that might be interested in the free transportation service.

“If you think you’ll be late, wake up earlier,” Ellis said. “[The shuttle] is eco-friendly and convenient. For real, I appreciate it so much.”

More information about shuttle routes and times can be found on the University of North Texas Parking and Transportation Services website or at their office in the Highland Street Garage.

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Alexis Trinidad

Alexis Trinidad

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