Shuttle bus will help with ASU parking issues

Nate Owens/Staff

Augusta State University students will have to pay more this fall for parking and transportation, but school officials hope there will be fewer headaches as a result.

A new shuttle bus will begin carrying students to and from University Village, Christenberry Fieldhouse and the university's Walton Way campus.

"For many years, students have asked for this," said Karl Munschy, the director of business services. "As you've probably heard, parking is a premium here on the main campus."

Last fall, the Student Government Association passed a resolution prompting the university to poll the student body to determine interest.

Of those who responded, 49.3 percent said they would use a shuttle daily or several times a week, and 9.5 percent said they would use it a few times a month.

"It's my firm belief that every student will benefit even if you never step foot on a shuttle," Mr. Munschy said.

Students who use the shuttle won't have to worry about circling parking lots in search of a space, and those who don't will have less competition for parking, he said.

Students had been paying $3 a semester to ride Augusta Public Transit and a $20 parking permit fee. They will now pay a $35 fee, which will include Augusta Public Transit, the parking permit and the shuttle bus. The amount was set by the student government.

That's low compared with other universities, Mr. Munschy said. Some universities charge a $90 transportation fee.

"Any time you have a new fee, there's going to be complaints," he said. "There is what I would call the vocal minority on campus."

Augusta Transit currently runs between the two campuses, but the shuttle will be much more frequent, Mr. Munschy said.

A shuttle will pick up students every 15 minutes at each stop, he said. A GPS system will be used for students to track the shuttle through their cell phones so they can determine their wait time.

Shuttles are expected to run 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. until late on Friday while class is in session.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.