New shuttle service provides downtown transportation

For the almost 10,000 students enrolled at the university, transportation can often be limited to the city bus routes or generous friends with cars—especially in the winter time when bike routes and sidewalks are less accessible. This semester, the university is offering a bi-weekly shuttle from lower campus to the downtown area. The service is being provided because of a collaboration between ASUAF and the Downtown Association of Fairbanks.

“[They] wanted to give a little more opportunity for students to actually leave campus and go check out the downtown area,” said ASUAF Office Manager and Advisor Kori Hensell.

According to Hensell, ASUAF and the Downtown Association partnered to bring more attention to the downtown area by giving students an easy option for getting off campus every now and then. While Hensell was unsure of who approached whom first, she was certain of the motivation of both ASUAF and the Downtown Association to provide a new service to students seeking to explore other parts of Fairbanks while also generating student-driven revitalization to the area.

“[It’s an] effort to bring more attention to what the downtown is trying to develop in terms of making it a viable, exciting nightlife area,” said Hensell.

While the service will be providing much-needed transportation opportunities to many students, the Downtown Association has a vested interest in the success of the program and the economic growth that it can provide for local businesses.

Once students have arrived downtown, they can expect to be greeted by Jeremia Schrock of the Downtown Association. Schrock will post up at Second Avenue to welcome students and provide maps and general information about where they can take the night.

Students can also use the shuttle to attend First Friday events, which feature local art, music, and creative collaborations.

For those unencumbered by transportation limits, the downtown shuttle service is also a viable option for socializing with other students while making environmentally sustainable choices.

“I think it’s really good, especially if you’re environmentally conscious,” Hensell said. “It’s a really great way to meet new students on campus, but also to just leave campus at all, especially when it gets really cold. Any effort to get students out and socializing can only benefit them.”

The shuttle will be running approximately every two weeks for the remainder of the fall semester, at which point evaluations will be done to determine the overall success of the program.

Students can utilize the service and share their feedback with the ASUAF office. According to Hensell, student government is interested in hearing from students about how the service is working and if it benefits them.

The university shuttle bus leaves the Wood Center North bus stop at 6 p.m. on the designated Fridays and departs from the downtown area to return to campus at 8:30 p.m. Access to the shuttle is free for people showing up with student ID.

The shuttle’s schedule can be found on the ASUAF Facebook page as well as their website www.asuafstudentgov.org. First Friday dates are denoted by an asterisk.

Tiffany Lehnerd

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