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New trolleys offer free rides

Submitted by Kwami K. Kwami on January 19, 2012 – 3:54 pmOne Comment

The Trojan Trolley, a the new service that provides transportation to various locations on and around the UALR campus, began its first day of service Tuesday. Photo by Matt Johnson

UALR began providing free rides from nearby private apartment complexes and parking lots on the perimeter of campus into the heart of campus Tuesday using the new UALR Trojan Trolley service.
The initiative puts into action one of the many suggestions for improving safety that were voiced at a campus-wide town hall meeting led by Chancellor Joel Anderson on Oct. 20, after the murder of UALR student Patricia Guardado.

“Student safety and convenience are the primary reasons for the shuttles,” Anderson said. “We also hope to attract more drivers to the free outlying parking lots, which offer open parking spaces at all times of the day and evening.”

The shuttle service consists of two 10-minute routes that run continuously from 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Fridays.

The maroon trolley loop has stops throughout the south end of campus. Those stops include Coleman Place Apartments on Asher Avenue, University Plaza on Asher Avenue, Lot 5 on Campus Drive, the Donaghey Student Center and South Oaks Apartments on Fair Park Boulevard.

The silver trolley loop has stops throughout the north end of campus. Those stops include Lot 15 on West 28th Street, Lot 14 on West 28th Street, Lot 13 on West 28th Street and the Fine Arts Building on West Campus Drive.

The shuttles are handicapped accessible and can accommodate approximately 24 people seated and 21 people standing. Each trolley has heat and air conditioning. The service is free and there is no requirement to show a UALR identification to ride.

The five-year contract to operate the Trojan Trolley is with Arkansas Destinations and provides the trolleys, drivers and maintenance for $1.5 million ($300,000 annually), with the option to extend it for up to two additional years. The agreement also contains an escape clause after one year and allows for inflation adjustments and changes to the routes. UALR is responsible for the fuel to operate the trolleys.

With more than 13,000 students enrolled this academic year, the cost for the Trojan Trolley equates to just under $23 per student per year.

“We are very excited to now have this additional opportunity to provide a meaningful service to the students and employees who live off-campus,” said Charles Donaldson, vice chancellor for educational student services and student life. “This will ensure that they are able to get to and from campus in a safe and timely manner.”

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