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Week of November 14, 2011

Alternative transportation options help U-M community get home for holidays


As students, faculty and staff begin making plans for the upcoming holidays, for many getting home is priority No. 1. Figuring out travel plans can be stressful, which is why the university provides a range of options to help get people over the river, through the woods or just to the airport.

“We offer programs from the most basic, such as getting people to and from Metro Airport, to car and ride-share programs,” says Steve Dolen, executive director of Parking & Transportation Services. “These programs are safe, reliable, cost-effective and we’ve had great success over the years helping people with their transportation needs.”

For members of the campus community needing their own transportation, two programs are available — Zipcar and Zimride.

Zipcar is a subscription-based program that allows members to check out vehicles from locations throughout the country. Every Zipcar includes gas, insurance and up to 180 miles per day. More miles can be added for a minimal charge, and with eight Zipcar locations on or near U-M’s campus getting a vehicle is fast and easy, Dolen says.

Zimride is a private ride-sharing network for U-M students, faculty and staff, and is designed to simplify the process of offering rides or finding a ride. Using a @umich.edu address or U-M’s Facebook account, Zimride users can connect to share rides and save money. Recently, the two services have joined forces.

“Zipcar and Zimride now have a program which combines the best of both,” Dolen says. “For people looking to get home for the holidays where air travel is not feasible, these programs are ideal.”

For people needing transportation to and from Metro Airport, the Michigan Flyer bus service departs from the Ann Arbor Sheraton Hotel located near Wolverine Tower every day including holidays. Yellow parking is available at Wolverine Tower, and $2-per-day prepaid parking is offered as well. MRide bus service also delivers passengers to the Sheraton. Ranges of ticketing options are offered for the Michigan Flyer, including advanced, one-way and round-trip fares.

Approaching its 10th year of operation, the Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) offers the MSA airBus service for students and nonstudents needing transportation to and from the airport. Buses leave from three locations on campus — Bursley Hall, Alice Lloyd Hall and at State Street and Madison across from the Law Quad — and run hourly from Metro Airport back to campus or as frequently as every 20 minutes during peak times. Advanced reservations are recommended for the airBus service based on its popularity.

If none of these services meet one’s needs, social media and email are further options for connecting people to schedule transportation sharing to hometowns, the airport or even a location that reduces the length of a drive.

 

SPOTLIGHT

The Rev. Dr. Debby Mitchell, student affairs program manager, Rackham Graduate School, on her work with Rackham: “My great joy is interacting with the many students we help achieve their academic and professional goals."

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