By Jennefer Barton
BYU made the 2006 Best Workplaces for Commuters list for being an institution that creates commuter benefits by easing traffic and auto emissions, compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“We have encouraged students and faculty, when possible, to use other means of transportation than their personal vehicle,” said Carri Jenkins, university spokeswoman.
The list, includes 72 top colleges and universities in 26 states who are in no particular order.
The Best Workplaces for Commuters is a voluntary program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which nationally recognizes excellence in employer-provided commuter benefits, according to their Web site.
Also included in the list are Utah State University and the University of Utah.
A college or university meets the requirement by reducing parking demand and reducing harmful emissions in their communities, according to the agency.
BYU and the other institutions have annually saved 30 million gallons of gasoline and reduced 616 million miles of driving, according to the Web site.
In order to qualify, BYU had to meet the national standard of excellence. The university achieved this recognition with items including free parking, bike and scooter parking locations and UTA membership. Students and faculty can get to school in a variety of ways: carpooling, riding bikes, walking or taking the bus. All of which decreases congestion and eases the commute for citizens in Provo.
“A primary reason for this recognition was our deeply discounted UTA passes that are offered through the ED Pass program,” Jenkins said. “Students can purchase those for $60 a year. It is a deeply discounted rate for the students.”
The ED Passes are available for students at anytime of the year and are pro-rated for different times of the year.
“We do have many safe and secure bike locations that are right on campus, right close to the hub of university activity,” Jenkins said. “We have recently put in new bicycle parking for students.”
Jenkins said if students or faculty have a concern with the bus route, to contact UTA and let them know of their needs.
“I live in Salem, and there”s a bus route that goes directly to Salem and back to campus, which is really great,” said Nikki Hanegan, assistant professor of Integrative Biology. “But I don”t see too much incentive or encouragement for professors to carpool because of the fact that our schedules are so flexible.”
Bethany Hillary, a 21-year-old audiology major from Sandy said she”s disappointed that she now has to pay for a bus pass.
“The university has done a good job accommodating to the number of people, but I wish the bus passes were still free,” Hillary said. “It”s frustrating because everyone can park their car at school for free now.”