by Paul Goraczko, Think Green Correspondent
This year 10,432 riders took advantage of the free service that transports students, faculty, and staff between the College’s West Campus in Pottstown and the Central Campus in Blue Bell.
Last year, only 8,450 riders used the service. Thus, ridership is up 23 percent from last year.
The increase in ridership has had a number of green-friendly effects.
The Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association (GVFTMA), the organization that manages the shuttle, estimates that the shuttle helped to eliminate the potential emission of 54,515.8 metric tons of greenhouse gases.
Additionally, with an average daily ridership of 72 passengers, the shuttle reduced vehicle usage by 3,546 miles daily. Thus, with 144 days of service, the shuttle reduced vehicle usage by more than half a million miles.
The increase in ridership has helped the College not only go green by reducing the College’s carbon footprint, it has also helped the College to save green.
The cost per rider from the 2011-2012 academic year was $10.50 per rider; this year, the cost per rider was only $8.96—a 15 percent decrease in the cost per rider from last year.
The campus shuttle also allowed the College to phase out its courier system in October 2012, thus reducing carbon output by an additional 12.5 metric tons per year and saving the College roughly $4,300 a year.
The College’s need to expand from a 14-passenger vehicle to a 20-passenger vehicle to accommodate increased student demand early in 2012 illustrates how the shuttle is yet another success story of the College’s Sustainability Initiative.
All told, the shuttle helped to eliminate about 54,527.5 metric tons of carbon emissions and save more than 522,144 miles of vehicle usage this academic year.
To defray costs and ensure efficiency, the College does not operate the shuttle during the summer. The College does, however, encourage students to use SEPTA or Zimride, the College’s ridesharing program.
Zimride is an industry leading rideshare service that provides a safe and easy way for students and staff to arrange carpooling through a College Community network that fully integrates with Facebook and Twitter.
The service encourages students to cut down gas costs, protect the environment, and meet new people.
Zimride is just another way that the college is keeping its commitment to carbon reduction.
Since combining efforts with Zimride, the College has posted 1,197,760 carpooling miles, which equates to a potential CO2 Reduction of 263,507 lbs.
And a reminder for all those who drive energy-efficient vehicles — the Green Lot by the Advanced Technology Center at the Central Campus remains open and available for those who carpool or those who drive vehicles with 25 MPG or greater.