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HSC staffer parks car; opts for bus and saving money

by UofL Today last modified Jun 24, 2011 09:47 AM

Mary Lu Schooler can tell you exactly when she decided to stop driving her car to and from her job at the University of Louisville and start riding the bus instead.

HSC staffer parks car; opts for bus and saving money

Mary Lu Schooler

“It was May 13,” said Schooler, an administrative assistant at Kosair Charities Pediatric Center on Floyd Street. “I was driving past a Thornton’s (gas station) and the sign said $4.15 a gallon.

“I thought, ‘This is ridiculous. I’ve had it with driving.’”

Schooler decided at that moment to check into riding the bus to work and back. She knew UofL employees and students could ride free anywhere in the city on Transit Authority of River City (TARC) buses. But she wasn’t sure how to work out the logistics from her Oldham County home.

After doing a bit of research, she came up with a plan.

Each weekday, she drives her Honda Civic to the Holiday Manor shopping center at Brownsboro Road and I-264, parks her car there and boards the 49 Westport Express bus to downtown Louisville. To get home, she simply reverses her route.

The bus ride takes from 15 to 18 minutes, about the same amount of time it takes her to drive the distance.

In the morning, the bus drops her off at First Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard about three blocks from her office. At the end of her workday, she walks another few blocks to First and Liberty streets to board the return bus.

Although Schooler has been riding the bus less than a month, she’s already sold on the benefits. Not only is she saving money on gas—she’s reducing her carbon footprint, she said.

“It’s unbelievable how much money you can save by doing this. And it also feels good not to be polluting the air with your car.”

To estimate her savings, Schooler entered the details of her route into an online calculator on TARC’s website. Her savings? About $350 a month in gas plus wear and tear on her car.

“I wish I had started riding the bus sooner,” said Schooler, who has worked at UofL for about 10 years.

UofL’s contract with TARC has allowed university employees and students to ride buses free with their university ID for the past several years. This spring, TARC adjusted two major bus routes, a change that has increased transportation options for UofL riders.

TARC’s No. 4 route runs along Fourth Street from near Iroquois Park, through Belknap Campus, to the Health Sciences Center (HSC) and downtown. The No. 18 route links Belknap and HSC via Preston and Jackson streets.

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