UH Moves Forward on Green Commute Program

September 1, 2009

With a growing campus and increasing enrollment, the University of Houston continues to make strides with its Green Commuter Steps initiative.

The program promotes and provides the campus community with a range of green commuter solutions, including free outlying parking lots and public transportation, according to Emily Messa, assistant vice president for university services.

“Students, faculty and staff are looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly and during these economic times, going green is also affordable,” said Bob Browand, director of parking and transportation services.

One of the easiest ways for Cougars to go green is by using public transportation, Messa said. Houston’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) provides eight direct bus routes to UH, nearby locations and park-and-ride locations across the metropolitan area, Messa explained.

To increase  awareness about the benefits of public transportation, UH and METRO will team up, once again, to host the second UH Green Commuter Fair  from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sept. 1-2 at Philip Hoffman Hall breezeway, the University Center Satellite and the Welcome Center.

At the fair, students will have the opportunity to sign up for Q-cards, METRO’s debit payment system for riders. All students will be able to register for a Q-card, but full-time students will be eligible for a card offering them to ride for 50 percent off the regular rate. Additionally, students, faculty and staff can sign the university’s Green Commuter Pledge, a commitment to use environmentally friendly transportation. In January, nearly 900 students signed the pledge at the first fair. For the September fair, Messa’s goal is to enroll 2,000 in the pledge program.

METRO’s RideShare program is another way to go green. The program provides vans for a nominal fee to groups of seven to 15 commuters and serves Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Liberty, Montgomery, Waller and Harris counties. METRO pays for vehicle registration, maintenance and license and offers a $35 monthly incentive to participants.

To facilitate ride sharing, the office of university parking and transportation services has launched AlterNetRides, a free nationwide service, on its Web site at www.uh.edu/parking. AlterNetRides allows faculty, staff and students to advertise and find other Cougars to carpool.

“In addition to being a great way to carpool to campus, AlterNetRides also allows members to post rides to other destinations across the country,” Browand said.

Once on campus, faculty, staff and students can take advantage of free satellite parking, which is available at Texas Southern University on Scott Street at Rosewood, across from Frenchy’s Chicken, and at Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. UH shuttle buses serve those lots as well as other outlying parking lots, including 12A, 12B, 8A, 9B and 9C.

For more information on the UH Green Commuter Fair visit www.uh.edu/green.

Staff reports