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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Campus

Others ways to get around campus, Houston than driving your car


COAST offers incentives for students, faculty and staff who carpool or utilize alternative and sustainable transportation options. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

COAST offers incentives for students, faculty and staff who carpool or utilize alternative and sustainable transportation options. | Trevor Nolley/The Cougar

One of the selling points of the University is its close proximity to plenty of fun Houston spots, and students have access to a variety of transportation options to get there from campus.

The Coogs on Alternative and Sustainable Transportation program offers incentives for students, faculty and staff who carpool or utilize alternative and sustainable transportation options such as Metro, Zipcar and bikes.

 “I use the Metro, because I like that I can avoid traffic in the mornings and evenings since I live far from campus,” said advertising sophomore Olivia Bell.

For students that decide not to bring their car to campus, they can join COAST and receive a Metro Q card that has $27.50 loaded onto it every month. 

 “It’s nice that I can relax and do homework or be on my phone other than worrying about driving,” Bell said.

There are six different local bus routes in Houston that offer service to campus. They also connect to transit centers for a network of additional local and Park and Ride routes that provide service across Houston.

“I started taking the Metro yesterday because it’s a lot faster than commuting and getting stuck in traffic,” said computer science freshman Anum Ali.

Some students say they started taking the bus or Metro, despite having vehicles of their own, because they appreciate being able to avoid parking.

“I take the bus so I don’t have to take my car everywhere,” said atmosphere science junior Delaney Nelsonand. “I can only park at certain places on campus.”

Assistant director of Parking & Transportation Services Yvonne Fedee said that for students who don’t purchase a a parking permit, UH offers one of two incentives: either $300 per year in Zipcar driving credits, or $120 per year in Zipcar driving credits plus $180 per year in METRO fare money.

“You can get nearly anywhere in the city that you desire to go,” said Fedee.

Zipcars are short-term rental cars that can be rented by the hour. Students must have Zipcar membership, a valid driver’s license and be at least 18 to rent.

Zipcar can be found at four different locations around campus: Cougar place, Bayou Oaks, Cougar Village 1 and across from University Lofts. 

Biking is a popular way for students to get around campus and Houston fast, while also getting some exercise in. Students that don’t own a bike can rent one using the red BCycle bikes that are located many places around campus and Houston destinations like the Houston Zoo, Discovery Green and more.

“I like the convince of biking to school, because I can get to class faster than by foot and still make it to class on time when I sleep in,” said environmental science freshman Anna Alvarez.

Students can get a discounted year-long BCycle membership for $60. For members, the first hour used on any bike is free. 

“The only major inconvenience has to do with weather, biking in the rain isn’t ideal, or when the sidewalks are super busy,” Alvarez said. 

COAST on Nov. 11 will celebrate “Alternative Transportation Day.” Representatives for various transportation services will be answering any student questions at the event and hosting an informational “Learn to Ride METRO” event.  

“I see it as a really good alternative for people who wants to save money on gas,” said marketing senior Alexander Paterson-Roberts. “I see it as an overall positive for the Houston community.”

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