The Tech Employee Courtesy Shuttle will provide free transportation around and near the Texas Tech University campus for employees.
To help decrease vehicle traffic and increase pedestrian safety on the Texas Tech University campus, Transportation & Parking Services (TPS) is launching the Tech Employee Courtesy Shuttle (TECS).
TECS will pick up and drop off employees for free from the Texas Tech campus, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Texas Tech Plaza and parts of downtown Lubbock from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. any day the university is open.
The shuttle is the next step in the campus safety initiative, which includes reducing the number of vehicles traveling through the interior of campus during the day.
"As our student population continues to grow, we are looking at making the campus more pedestrian-friendly for our students, faculty, staff and guests," said Kent Meredith, assistant vice president of auxiliary services.
Once the account is created, employees can request an on-demand ride or schedule one in advance if their ride is more than two hours in the future. Then they will select their pickup and drop off locations from a list of about 150 predetermined locations. This will give employees the opportunity to get wherever they need to be without having to worry about driving, while also reducing the number of vehicles driving around campus.
Once the ride is confirmed and submitted, employees will receive a notification with an expected pickup time and another when the driver arrives. Once the driver arrives, said Neil Kilcrease, TPS assistant director, they will wait at the pickup location for three minutes before leaving to keep drivers available for other passengers.
Employees can have up to 10 rides scheduled at a time. If they want to make a change to a scheduled ride, they will have to cancel the ride and reschedule it. If it is within the two-hour window before they need to use the service, they will have to wait and request an on-demand ride. Either option employees choose will ensure they get to their destination while not having to worry about pedestrian traffic or parking.
"This is supporting our strategy of parking once," Kilcrease said. "We want you to drive to campus, park your vehicle and use TECS or the other Tech transportation options to get around."
TECS is the second phase of the TPS ridesharing service Raider Ride, both of which were created to increase campus safety. Kilcrease said TPS completed 41,879 rides last year through Raider Ride, a late-night shuttle service for students that started last fall, and he expects the demand to be similar for the employee shuttle. The wait time for TECS will depend on the current demand and how many vans are on the road.
"The new shuttle will help campus operate more efficiently in that we will not have faculty and staff driving around looking for parking spaces," Meredith said. "If several people are coming from different parts of campus to the same meeting or event, then the shuttle can pick them all up and deliver them to the meeting, greatly reducing the number of vehicles driving on campus, as well as the need for additional parking spaces."
TECS is another step in TPS's long-term plan to separate pedestrians and vehicles. The department blocked vehicle traffic on 15th Street from Detroit Avenue to Boston Avenue throughout the day. The entrance at 15th Street and University Avenue no longer provides access to the interior of campus. Drivers still can access the R13 and Z2 parking lots, but they cannot get through the lot into the main part of campus. Both closures were put in place to increase safety for pedestrians.
"Our No. 1 priority is safety for pedestrians," Kilcrease said. "As we develop this plan, we want to reduce any potential conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles."