By Corbett B. Daly
Arizona Daily Wildcat
When Sue Hooper needed to get to class quickly and a friend suggested she put her feet into high gear, the UA student replied, "Walk down from Harvill? Hell no! (I'll) take the bus!"
The "bus" Hooper referred to is a free on-campus shuttle operated by University of Arizona Parking and Transportation Services to help students and others get from one place on campus to the next.
The service has three 17-seat buses and one van, which operate on two circular routes on campus. The shuttle operates year-round from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and runs about every 15 minutes.
Hooper, a family and consumer resources junior, is one student who knows about and uses the shuttle.
But Larry Barton, Parking and Transportation Services program coordinator, said he wants more students to learn of the service. So, he asked Merrie Brucks, an associate marketing professor to help increase student awareness.
Brucks assigned a class project to her Marketing 452 class, "Advertising and Promotion Management."
Justin Gray, a marketing senior in the class, said he and fellow students surveyed more than 600 people on campus to find out what people know and who uses the service.
They found that 80 percent of faculty surveyed know about the shuttle, but only 50 percent of students are aware of it.
"The people who use it thought it was great service, but so few people know about it," Brucks said. "Even the people that had heard of it, they didn't know much."
Barton said the shuttle currently carries about 5,000 passengers a week.
Gray said that 37 percent of student parking-permit holders have used the shuttle and 35 percent use it once a week or more.
Chad Pajerski, a communications junior, said he has used it every day for the last year.
"It drops me off right in front of Harvill and I can pick it up right in front of my house," he said.
Another group from the class also organized a contest to find a name for the shuttle. The name "Cat Tran" was selected.
Next semester, Cat Tran may help those coming from off-campus locations _ a move designed to offset the elimination of about 1,000 parking spaces on campus by next fall, Barton said.
He said the shuttle will add one or two off-campus stops where students, faculty, staff and visitors can park.
"El Con (Mall) seems to be the most viable option right now," Barton said.
He also said the vehicles will display logos to enhance the shuttle's visibility.
One driver, JoAnne Lewis, is popular among riders because students say she tries to be accomodating.
As an example, Lewis said she and the other drivers unofficially added a stop at East Mabel Street and North Martin Avenue so passengers in the summer can wait under the shade of a nearby tree.
"I'd like to see us someday have bus benches with shelters at each one of the stops on campus," Lewis said. Read Next Article