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May 22, 2006

Campus honored for providing transportation alternatives

UCSC’s popular bike shuttle program has received a sustainable transportation award and the campus has made a national listing of “Best Workplaces for Commuters.”

The bike shuttle ferries up to 14 bikes at a time up Bay Street and onto campus. Last fall, average daily ridership in the program was 153.4 passengers—the highest ever recorded.

“The program began in spring 2000 and quickly became one of our most successful, popular—even beloved—programs,” said Transportation and Parking Services director Wes Scott.

The bike shuttle award will be presented at the “Thinking Outside the Bus” session at the University of California/California State University Sustainable Campus Conference June 25-28 at UC Santa Barbara.

TAPS operates the bicycle trailer and shuttle from Olive Street, next to the Mission Street Longs Drug Store, on weekday mornings. Cyclists load their bicycles on the trailer and catch a ride on the shuttle van up to campus.

“A survey of bike shuttle users conducted during winter 2001 revealed that approximately 40 percent were faculty or staff, one-quarter of whom previously commuted alone in their cars, suggesting a reduction of at least 15 vehicles driving to and parking at campus each day,” he said.

“If this trend has continued as ridership has grown, current reduction in single-occupant vehicles should exceed 20 vehicles per day,” Scott said, adding that about half indicated that Santa Cruz Metro was previously their primary commute mode.  “Their use of the bike shuttle released seats on the crowded Metro buses, particularly during peak morning travel times, thereby accommodating other transit-dependent UCSC commuters.”

The award is the second for the bike shuttle. In 2001, the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission honored TAPS for developing the program.

Nationally, the campus has been listed in the new Colleges and Universities category of  “Best Workplaces for Commuters,” a program of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation. UCSC is one of 72 campuses honored. The program recognizes employers offering outstanding commuter benefits such as low-cost bus passes, strong telework programs, carpooling matching, and vanpool subsidies.

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