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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Seeking a swifter mode of transport

    Getting around campus isn’t all about the feet.

    Some people drive their cars from parking spot to parking spot, while others ride a bike or even skateboard.

    Parking on campus is a known time-sucking activity. The process of walking to your car, strapping yourself in and hunting for another spot can often be as time-consuming as walking across campus.

    Other students, perhaps with a better sense of time economy, go about commuting a bit differently.

    Getting to school can be accomplished without a car via SunTran, the city bus system, which has eight regular routes and four express routes that come to the UA campus from all directions.

    The cost is $1 per ride, but buying the SunTran and UA co-sponsored U-Pass can make it more affordable than a parking pass, car insurance and gas prices.

    The U-Pass price varies, depending on the option. The 2007 fall semester pass costs $70, the nine-month academic year pass is $112 and the annual U-Pass is $156.

    Even the most expensive option is $123 less than a two-semester Zone 1 parking pass, which is required to park in virtually every on-campus lot.

    CatTran, the free campus shuttle, will get you to most places around campus in just a few minutes.

    The catch: Riders must wait at designated spots until the bus comes at scheduled times.

    The advantage: air conditioning and nice cushy seats.

    CatTran has six routes, including the NightCat, which runs from 6 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Routes operate anywhere from every 13 minutes to every 30 minutes.

    More information on SunTran, U-Pass and CatTran can be found on the Parking and Transportation Services Web site at

    Other options that include just a little more open air include bicycles and skateboards.

    Bicycles are everywhere on campus and can take someone from class to class even faster than waiting for a bus or driving a car.

    Bikes can be locked up outside or near every building on campus, and they don’t have a huge cost of upkeep.

    For $79 less than the price of one Zone 1 parking pass, a student could own a hybrid bicycle made for commuting, said Ralph Phillips, owner of Fair Wheel Bikes, 1110 E. Sixth St.

    The bike is in a mountain bike position and has bigger wheels made for commuting five miles comfortably while zipping by all the cars snarled in traffic, he said.

    A cyclist could probably make it to campus faster than someone who drives a car, he added, pointing out that it takes time to get through traffic, find a parking space and then walk to class.

    There is a distinct advantage to using a bike to get around campus, even a simple one-speed cruiser a dorm resident could park outside a residence hall, Phillips said.

    “”You just get on it and go,”” he said.

    Krystina Lee, a veterinary sciences senior, said she rides her bike to class every day because it’s a great way to get around campus.

    “”It’s nice because almost every building has bike racks in front of it,”” Lee said. “”The only thing that worries me is the rate of bike thefts on campus.””

    Security is always an issue for bike riders. Phillips, a 1968 UA graduate who sold bikes to the parents of today’s UA students, said the best defense against bicycle theft is the U-lock, a U-shaped metal lock.

    U-locks are highly recommended by the University of Arizona Police Department, and some area stores participate in the UA’s bicycle-safety program by giving students a 15 percent discount on U-lock purchases.

    Using a skateboard can also be just as speedy when it comes to zipping around campus.

    Riders do not lock up their boards but bring them right into class, which eliminates the need to walk to a vehicle or unlock anything and keeps the theft rate down.

    David Kogen, an undeclared sophomore, said that the first time he rode a skateboard across campus, it only took him one minute to go five blocks.

    A caution: UAPD keeps a close eye out for boarders doing tricks in prohibited areas. In many cases, boards have been impounded, though they can be returned when fines of around $50 are paid.

    Two more options for travel around campus are more for safety’s sake.

    SafeRide, sponsored by the Associated Students for the University of Arizona, is a free option for anyone who is traveling alone on campus at night, according to the ASUA Web site.

    All it takes is a phone call to 621-SAFE to arrange a ride. The phone call may be the longest part of the experience, as drivers are usually at the pick-up location within five to seven minutes.

    The SafeRide service is a door-to-door service, not on a route, and will transport students anywhere within its boundaries of East Grant Road, North Tucson and East Broadway boulevards and North Fourth Avenue.

    The service is available only to university-affiliated students, faculty and staff and drivers will not pick up anyone who is intoxicated.

    More information on SafeRide can be found on its Web site at

    The newest ride service on campus is CatsRIDDE, or Cats Realizing the Importance of a Designated Driving Escort.

    The service runs Saturday nights from 10 p.m.-3 a.m. and will accept intoxicated students for rides, according to the service’s Web site,

    Because students may be intoxicated, they must sign a waiver and return it to the service’s office, Room 325W of the Student Union Memorial Center, before their first rides.

    Rides are given only within the boundaries of East Grant Road, North Tucson and East Broadway boulevards and North Stone Avenue.

    CatsRIDDE can be reached at 621-4678. Rides are only given to patrons’ homes and not to other bars, parties or to a car.

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