UNH Media Relations
DURHAM, N.H.–University of New Hampshire Transit hit a milestone this week when its one millionth passenger boarded a shuttle bus in front of Thompson Hall.
Freshman Taylor Gorman was just looking for a ride back to her dorm after English class. It was chilly and she was wearing capri’s and flip-flops. What the Marshfield, Massachusetts, resident got in addition to that lift home was a bouquet of balloons and more than $800 worth of gifts for pushing ridership on UNH transit to the one million mark.
That number was calculated by counting the combined rides taken on the inter-town Wildcat Transit and the Campus Connector since July 1, 2006. Last year’s total was 911,850. Transportation officials knew they were going to hit a million before June 30 this year but didn’t think it would happen this soon.
“We thought it would take until the end of the (fiscal) year so it’s nice to have reached it in 10 months,” said Dirk Timmons, director of transportation.
And, for the second year in a row, UNH has been the largest transportation service in the state. Wildcat Transit connects Durham to Dover, Madbury, Portsmouth, Newington, and Newmarket while the Campus Connector provides public shuttle service around campus. Additionally, University Transit Service operates SafeRides, Guaranteed Ride Home, Cat Courier, MediCat and the Wildcat Access paratransit service.
“As a freshman I don’t have a car so I really rely on the bus,” Gorman says. “It’s really convenient—it stops everywhere and I know I won’t have to wait very long. I use it a lot, at night, to go to the mall. It’s great. ”
Her prizes included, among other things, brunch for four at the New England Center, two tickets to the Ogunquit Playhouse, a hat and T-shirt from Hayden Sports, numerous food gift certificates, a free karaoke DJ and a free oil change.
The University of New Hampshire has operated its bus service since the early 1970s, when it responded to an increasing off-campus student population. From the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s, UNH Transit was known as the Kari-Van. In 1985, 22 six-passenger buses launched what for years was referred to as the Campus Shuttle.
Then, from 1986 until 1998, UNH operated COAST, the Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation. It has been known as the University Transit System since 1999.
Photo available to download at http://unh.edu/news/img/D079263.jpg
Cutline: Dirk Timmons and transportation manager Beverly Cray present Taylor Gorman with a special T-shirt recognizing her as the millionth rider on the University of New Hampshire’s transit service.