Faculty, staff shoot to commute more efficiently

From driving to biking, faculty and staff are joining students who are commuting together to reduce their carbon footprint at UH’s peak traffic hours. | Bethel Glumac/The Daily Cougar

Faculty and staff are joining many students in an effort to make commuting to campus both more environmentally- and wallet-friendly.

Since 2011, the commuter club for faculty and staff has gone from only 40 members to more than 200.

Director of parking and transportation Robert Browand said the commuter club gives faculty and staff an alternative to driving alone and reduces stress.

“Once the new (MetroRail) line opens, it will link UH to the TMC (Texas Medical Center) area, where a large number of UH students live. As the rail system grows more and more, areas will be linked to UH, increasing the number of faculty, staff and students that can benefit from using it,” Browand said.

Commuter club members get the choice of how they would like to commute to and from the University. Whether it be using the Metro, carpool, vanpool, a bicycle or their own two feet, commuters are saving money in the long run.

Besides being faculty or staff, member requirements are to leave one’s car at home, to be a full-time employee — not evening or night-shift — and to carry out the duration of the membership using alternative transportation and not to purchase a parking permit.

The club does give complimentary daily parking passes for days when one must drive.

Education senior Meagan Rainwater said she appreciates the effort to reduce the number of cars on campus.

“Any extra parking helps students like me who don’t really have the option of using alternative transportation. The Metro is definitely a good choice and helping the environment any way you can is a good thing,” Rainwater said.

In addition to meeting new people through the club, Browand is thinking about the dollars faculty and staff can save.

“As costs continue to grow — gas, insurance, parking, repairs, et cetera — more people look for ways to save,” Browand said.

Parking and Transportation Services pays 25 percent of Metro fare if students, faculty and staff decide to commute. Using the Metro can save riders more than $3,500 per year versus driving their own car, according to Metro.

For those interested in joining the club, contact the manager of the commuter club, Edward Bell, at [email protected].

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