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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Stretch your dollar further

    Students from NorthPointe Student Apartments make use of their shuttle yesterday afternoon in front of Old Main. The shuttle is one of several from different apartments that provide students an alternative to driving.
    Students from NorthPointe Student Apartments make use of their shuttle yesterday afternoon in front of Old Main. The shuttle is one of several from different apartments that provide students an alternative to driving.

    As fuel and food costs continue to tug on Americans’ purse strings, many UA students are turning to alternative methods of saving money – from alternative transportation to changing spending habits – in order to make each dollar stretch a little bit further.

    Fed up with witnessing a rise in gasoline prices with seemingly no end in sight, David Hernandez, a recent UA graduate, has turned to a simple, yet effective mode of fighting back against a flailing economy: riding his bike.

    Hernandez said that by biking to and from campus, he now pays less than $50 a month for gas.

    “”If you ride your bike, not only are you saving yourself money, you’re getting a great workout,”” Hernandez said. “”It takes about the same time to ride my bike as to drive because of the traffic.””

    While biking is one option, the bus is the way to travel for many UA students, said Kandi Young, communications director of Sun Tran.

    “”(The bus) is a great way to save money and a relaxing way to commute,”” Young said. “”You can study while you’re riding to class.””

    The Sun Tran has routes all over Tucson and can get the average student just about anywhere they need to go, according to maps provided by the service.

    The UA and Sun Tran have worked together to come up with a university student U-Pass that allows students an affordable alternative to expensive commutes, said Bill Davidson, marketing manager for UA Parking and Transportation.

    “”(The program is) open to students, faculty and staff. The U-Pass gives you unlimited use of Sun Tran,”” Davidson said. “”PTS offers academic, semester and annual passes for (students’) convenience.””

    A nine-month U-Pass costs $112, or about $2 a day.

    In addition to changing your transportation methods, another way to save money is by eating only home-cooked meals, Hernandez said.

    “”I go home for eating times,”” he said. “”(By shopping at a grocery store), you can eat like a king for one quarter of what you would spend (eating fast food).””

    David Galbraith, director of dining services for Arizona Student Unions, said that he hopes people will buy their groceries off campus.

    On-campus grocery stores such as the U-Mart and Highland Market may offer relative convenience, but many goods come with a higher price tag.

    “”Our stores are for filling in, ‘I forgot something,'”” Galbraith said. “”We tell people to go to Safeway when buying large quantities.””

    But why waste gas and spend more money by driving to Safeway? PTS has another alternative.

    The Mauve Cat Tran Shuttle stops on Norris Street, just a few seconds’ walk from the Safeway on the corner of Campbell and Broadway, Davidson said.

    “”Free shuttles run about every 20 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.,”” he added.

    Public transit is the way of the future, and more and more people are becoming regular fixtures on Sun Tran buses, Young said.

    “”When gas prices go up a little bit, people give (public) transit a try,”” Young said. “”It’s a great way to get around, and it’s not very expensive.””

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