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Catching the bus is catching on

February 2012 | by Jane Kettering

For many Ambrose students, riding the city bus is a new experience. And most students have typically preferred having their own car on campus.

But a free ridership program paid for by the university has resulted in 6,970 rides in nine months, with an additional 17,733 rides for those students shuttling from the main campus to the Center for Health Sciences Education at Genesis. That's an average of 2,745 rides per month.

"We've been very happy with the ridership to date," said Vice President for Finance Mike Poster '88, who helped broker the deal. "We knew our students would ride the bus to the Health Science Building, but we were unsure if they would use it to go elsewhere in the Quad Cities. We've been pleasantly surprised."

Student Sarah Gard needed transportation to her off-campus job after her car broke down. "I catch the bus on campus and then it's a short trip to the mall where I work," she said. "And I'm not spending my hard-earned money on gas."

It's not only students who are able to ride for free. Faculty and staff need only flash their employee ID and take a seat. "I love it," said Professor of Philosophy Randy Richards '71. "It's convenient, easy and now, free." Richards uses the ride to read, plan his day or just "observe his surroundings." He recommends that others try it.

Gard agrees. "I was a little nervous at first because I've never used public transportation," she said. But the Central City, Iowa, native was soon won over. "The buses and drivers are nice, and I found it very easy and convenient."

As an alternative to bringing a car to campus-and part of an overall plan to address parking issues-the program also supports green initiatives at SAU.

Iowa Quad Cities Transit Coordinator Becky Passman gives the university high marks for its environmental stewardship and for pioneering a free ridership program.

"As a forward-thinking administration, Ambrose made the first move, and now Palmer College of Chiropractic, Kaplan University and the Davenport School Systems have followed," she said.

"It's a good thing catching on."


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