The University of New Mexico undergraduate and graduate student governments host "UNM Ride the Bus Week" Feb. 20-24. During this week UNM students will also recognize contributions of State Representative Gail Chasey and City of Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry in providing no cost access to transportation on the city transit system, ABQRide, to current UNM students, staff, and faculty.
A press conference is scheduled for Wed., Feb. 22 at 1 p.m. in Student Union Building Ballroom C in addition to week-long information events on campus.
"In a survey conducted of graduate and professional students at UNM, 66 percent say the ABQRide free bus pass program is important to them," said Travis McIntyre, lobby co-chair for the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA). "We would like to sincerely thank Representative Gail Chasey for initiating the program and we would like to thank ABQRide and Mayor Richard Berry for continuing the program."
The ABQRide free bus pass program began in August of 2007 as a result of Rep. Chasey's leadership in the State of New Mexico Legislature to fund a free transit program for UNM's students. The goal of the program is to reduce traffic, congestion and carbon emissions by providing incentive to students to use transit to commute to UNM. Although state funding for the program is no longer available, the program, now in its fifth year, continues through funding from various University sources and on-going collaboration with ABQRide. Staff and faculty were added to the program in August of 2008.
To participate, current students, staff and faculty must prove eligibility and obtain a sticker that is placed on their Lobo identification card. To ride an ABQRide bus, they simply show the bus driver the valid ID and sticker and ride for free.
"Usage of the ABQRide free bus pass program continues to grow with 15.2 percent of the University community using it as their primary form of transportation to the University compared to just about 2 percent in 2004 prior to the free program," said Robert Nelson, interim director for UNM Parking and Transportation Services (PATS). "Students have really led this change in transportation behavior and continue to play a key role in supporting and promoting the program on campus, while reducing the impact of University traffic in the community."
The ABQRide free bus pass program provides not only traffic reduction and sustainability benefits, but also assists students in accessing their education by providing an alternative to car-ownership.
"ASUNM realizes how important the free bus program is to many undergraduate students," said Florencio Olguin, executive director of Governmental Affairs for the Associated Students of the University of New Mexico (ASUNM). "We wanted to create a week dedicated to reminding students that riding the bus to and from campus is convenient, economical and sustainable."
In addition to the press conference, ASUNM, GPSA, and PATS will host and sponsor informational events throughout the week at the Transportation Information Center in the Student Union Building and at UNM shuttle stops.
For more information about the ABQRide Free Bus Pass Program visit: http://pats.unm.edu/TIC.cfm
For more information contact: Danielle Gilliam, PATS Program Specialist, 277-0461; firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Contact: Benson Hendrix, (505) 277-1816; email: email@example.com