OGDEN, Utah – Ongoing budget constraints are driving a change in shuttle bus service at Weber State University, beginning this fall semester.
When the new semester begins Aug. 24, students parking in the Dee Events Center will notice a difference in the shuttle bus route and the vehicles.
The new route will pick up passengers at the Dee Events Center parking lot and transport them to a stop located at the southeast corner of the Stewart Library, which will be the only stop on the main Ogden campus. In recent years, the shuttle bus route circled campus, making multiple stops.
The new library stop was selected because of its proximity to the center of campus. Most destinations on campus are a five- to seven-minute walk from that location—a shorter distance than many commuters have when they park in outlying lots on the main campus.
The new route provides a north-south service corridor. Students accustomed to using shuttle service to move east-west on campus are encouraged to use their UTA ED pass to ride UTA buses that make two stops along the north side of campus, including former shuttle bus stops by the McKay Education and Social Science buildings and the Lind Lecture Hall.
The university is replacing existing diesel shuttle buses with new dual fuel-powered vehicles, which run on gasoline and compressed natural gas (CNG). The new Diamond Coach buses with Ford chassis seat 20 and can transport up to 30 people at a time. They are quieter than their predecessors and much more fuel-efficient.
"This is the wave of the future, plus it's clean and quiet," said WSU fleet manager Mike Whetton.
The university has purchased three of the dual fuel-powered buses, which will make the 2.3-mile roundtrip every 10 minutes during peak hours. The shuttles operate from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays.
University officials recognize that the change may take some getting used to, but the savings are significant at a time when resources are tight.
"The new buses cost significantly less to operate," Whetton said. "We anticipate saving $200,000 a year with this change."
Whetton said the changes are strictly a budget-driven decision.
"Contrary to popular belief, the shuttle service does not receive funding from student fees," Whetton said. "Given the current budget climate, we need to reduce expenses."
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