Cost-cutting commuters

Commuters who choose to participate in the Rideshare program can utilize Lot E in front of the Henry Madden Library for parking. Faculty who participate in the program also receive scrip that can be used at the Kennel Bookstore, the Bulldog Shop and other places on campus.
Juan Villa / The Collegian

With gas prices at an all-time high, driving to school is more expensive than ever. For members of the Fresno State community who live near or far from campus, the Commuter Services Program provides alternative types of transportation.

The University Police Department operates the Commuter Services Program. Public Information Officer Amy Armstrong said that there are currently around 1,000 students involved in Commuter Services.

For students and staff who drive to campus, one program in Commuter Services is called Rideshare.

“[Rideshare] provides a way for students and staff to park closer as an incentive if they carpool to campus,” Armstrong said.

Students in the Rideshare program carpool with a partner and have reserved parking Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. in Lot E, just north of the Student Health Center.

Rideshare permits are issued to commuters who carpool to campus with a partner.
Juan Villa / The Collegian

Armstrong said there are additional parking spots in several lots around campus that have prime parking spots for students who enroll in the program.

Junior Ellen Chang and her roommate live at Shaw Avenue and Highway 99. They joined the Rideshare program to make their parking situation less stressful.

“It’s easier and we can park closer to campus,” Chang said. “It’s a lot better than looking for a parking spot and being late to class.”

For students who commute from out-of-town areas such as Visalia or Madera, there is a Web site in conjunction with Commuter Services called ValleyRides.com.

ValleyRides.com matches commuters with other commuters from the same area who are looking to carpool to campus.

An added bonus for faculty and staff in Rideshare is an incentive program that provides scrip. Every time a staff or faculty member uses Rideshare, they receive 50 cents of scrip, which can be used toward items at the Kennel Bookstore, the Bulldog Shop or various venues on campus. Staff and faculty also receive scrip any time they use public transit, walk or ride a bike to campus.

The second component that makes up the Commuter Services Program is the Red Bike program. Armstrong said Commuter Services rents around 600 bikes every semester. Students and staff can rent a bike for the semester for $5 to use wherever they please.

“It’s a very successful program,” Armstrong said. “The bikes are all used up within the first weeks of the semester. It helps for the students who live on or nearby campus without a car.”

Armstrong said that the Red Bike program is more popular than Rideshare because the bikes are more visible.

“There’s not only students who take advantage of [Red Bike], but there is also some faculty and staff,” Armstrong said. “That seems to be our more popular program.”

Armstrong said that even though Fresno is not an alternative transportation-oriented town, she believes the Commuter Services Program has a fair number of participants.

“We would always like to see more,” Armstrong said. “We always encourage people to join the program.”

To sign up for the Commuter Services Program, students can go to the University Police Center located in the USU Pavilion.

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