vRide provides more opportunites for employee carpooling
Published: Monday, October 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 21, 2013 23:10
University Parking Services has announced a new program that will partner the department with vRide, a carpool service that will make it easier and cheaper for university employees to come to work. The program is being discussed and could be implemented at some point this year, according to the Parking Services website.
According to the vRide website, the service aims to organize workers who live in certain areas and transport them to the university through a volunteer driver, who is one of the workers in that specified area. The driver uses a vRide van, picks up the other workers in the area and brings them to work in the morning.
Richard Rind, the director of auxiliary services for Parking Services, stated in an email message the university already has a carpool program that has been in place for some time, but the vRide addition will hopefully serve as an effective extension to the program. Rind said vRide will not only help the environment by cutting down on the number of vehicles used for work commute but will also be a less expensive parking option for those who choose to participate.
“These programs are ‘green’ in that they reduce the number of cars being driven to and from campus which reduces congestion, emissions, etc. and also saves the participants green,” Rind said.
Rind said the program will not cost employees any extra money to utilize, and normal parking assignments will remain the same despite the implementation of vRide. Also, Rind said those who share a ride to work will also be able to split the costs of a parking permit, as well as fuel expenses, which will cut down the price of getting to work even further.
Sophomore Gabrielle Alioto said she hopes the university begins to promote more environmentally-friendly policies. She said vRide sounds like a great step in the right direction, and she hopes professors and other university staff take advantage of the new program. Alioto said she has thought of certain improvements that could be made around campus in order to be more ‘green.’
“When I was a freshman, I remember there were so many paper towels always all over the bathroom,” Alioto said. “Why not get those air-powered hand driers? I can’t imagine how much paper they would save. An institution as big as the university has a responsibility to lead in these kinds of things.”
If more programs in college were dedicated to lowering pollution or utilizing recycling, more students would care about the environment and cutting down on pollution would become second nature, Alioto said. Educating college-age kids about the threats to the planet that big industries and automobile exhaust pose would stop the rampant cycle of pollution, she said.
Alioto said she would even support a modest raise in tuition if it meant the university would put in actual programs and new policies to extend their attempts to shrink any negative impact the university has on the environment.
“If I know where it’s going, I would definitely support an increase,” Alioto said. “But I would want to see the blueprints and the actual improvements while I’m still here. I’ve got two and a half years left. The university could easily do it.”
Sophomore Meghan Lenahan, an environmental engineering major, said the idea of the vRide program seems like a good cost-saving idea for employees, and she hopes the university can make the program attractive to professors and staff members. If the program is inconvenient or does not work, Lenahan said, there will be no point and it will not make a difference.
“As long as the employees need it, then I think it could work,” Lenahan said. “If it helps employees carpool, then they’ll have to use less gas and fossil fuels. But I am sure the university could think of something else to make an impact on the environment, because carpooling seems like a fraction of what they could do.”