Green options grow for UofL commuters

Matthieu Dalle rides a TARC bus from his Highlands home to Belknap Campus and back nearly every day. Vickie Tencer and Carol Norton carpool from Southern Indiana to their UofL jobs even though they work on different campuses.

by Denise Fitzpatrick, communications and marketing last modified Mar 18, 2015 01:10 PM

All three are saving money and reducing UofL’s carbon footprint by using alternative transportation, a practice more faculty and staff need to adopt if the university is to meet its long-term sustainability goals, says Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives.

“Driving alone to campus should be the option folks choose only if they really have to,” he said.

The number of UofL commuters walking, biking, carpooling or riding TARC to work has risen slightly since 2010, but those who drive a car alone still account for 18 percent of the university’s total carbon emissions, according to Mog.

Faculty, staff and students with a valid UofL ID can ride TARC free, and a growing number are doing so. A December TARC report shows UofL riders took the bus 1.3 million times in 2013-14 compared to 962,425 times in 2003-04, the year the benefit was first offered.

Dalle, a French professor in the Modern Languages department, rides the No. 29 bus from the TARC stop at Quadrant Avenue and Eastern Parkway. He gets off at the stop near Speed School and walks five minutes to the Humanities Building, reversing the process when he leaves campus.

“I’m usually door to door in 20 or 25 minutes,” he said.

Riding TARC is convenient and “it’s a social mixer, because I meet people from different backgrounds,” Dalle said.

UofL commuters who don’t want to ride the bus have plenty of other options for getting to and from campus, including:

  • Zimride, a social networking ride-share program with a website just for UofL ride-sharing.
  • Enterprise CarShare, which allows anyone older than 18 with a valid driver’s license to rent a car on Belknap Campus for as little as $5 an hour.
  • CARpool, a Parking Office program allowing two or more employees or students who ride to and from campus in the same car to split the cost of a parking permit.
  • Ticket to Ride, a guaranteed ride home program Kentuckiana Regional Planning and Development Agency offers that pays 80 percent of cab fare.
  • Zipcar, a downtown Louisville service available to employees and students at UofL’s Health Sciences Center.

At the end of 2014, 168 UofL employees and students belonged to UofL’s CarShare program compared to 112 at the end of 2013. Drivers used the rental cars to get to out-of-town destinations such as Lexington, Owensboro and Paducah.

Others opted to carpool to and from campus with their neighbors.

Tencer, a research manager at the School of Nursing, and Norton, assistant director for the Center for Environmental Policy and Management in Lutz Hall, both live in Floyds Knobs, Ind. They’ve carpooled to work and back since 2011.

Each saves about $82 a week by splitting the cost of a UofL magenta parking permit, buying less gasoline and incurring less wear and tear on their cars, Tencer estimates.

Norton said carpooling is easy for people who are committed to making it work.

“It’s really no hassle at all,” she said. “In fact, it’s almost like having a valet service. “When Vickie drives, she drops me off at the curb in front of my office, and I do the same for her.”

For more details on alternative transportation options for faculty, staff and students, see UofL’s sustainability website.

Green options grow for UofL commuters (UofL Today, March 18, 2015)