Cutting carbon with conservationist cab rides

Getting to and from campus by bike or bus may not be easy, but a new program will make it easier for alternative commuters to get home in a jam.

The program – offered through USF’s Center for Urban Transportation and Research (CUTR) and sponsored by Bay Area Commuter Services (BACS) – provides students who get to school by bus, bike, foot or carpool at least twice a week with eight free emergency cab rides home from campus.

Students who register receive vouchers for eight free emergency taxi rides, each with a $100 ceiling and redeemable in the event of sickness or family emergency. Students can sign up for the taxi vouchers online via the BACS Web site.

“Universities are moving to reduce their environmental impact, and driving is such a big part of that,” said Julie Bond, a research associate at CUTR who spearheaded the program at USF. “Students need more alternative options.”

USF is the first school in Hillsborough County with an alternative transportation incentive program, said Bond.

Bond, who rides her bike to campus from Temple Terrace every day, said the program should decrease traffic congestion, alleviate parking pains and promote environmental awareness on campus.

Currently, Bond is working with Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HARTline) to expand student options for travel to and from campus.

Students who sign up do so on the honor system,

Bond said.

“Getting a free ride home if you took your car to school, really wouldn’t do you any good anyway,” said Bond. “You’d still have to come back for your car.”

USF has other sustainable incentives in the works, said Sharon Hanna-West, sustainability specialist for the College of Business Administration, though she declined to disclose details.

“This program, coupled with other upcoming CUTR incentives, can help students become aware of their influence over a sustainable campus, and in turn, help minimize their carbon footprints,” Hanna-West said. “We have some pretty interesting incentives and I hope that we will soon see a changed campus.”

Jaclyn DeVore can be reached at (813) 974-2699 or

Emergency Ride Facts:

WHAT: Eight free emergency cab rides home for students who use alternative transportation twice a week.

WHO: Sponsored by Bay Area Commuter Services

HOW: Students can register for the program at