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SG offers airport shuttles for holiday break

Student Government will offer a complimentary holiday shuttle for students from campus to Tampa International Airport beginning at 7 p.m. on Nov. 22, continuing through Nov. 23. 

The funding for the holiday shuttle comes from the student activity and service fee.

Student Body President Chris Griffin said he recognized the need for a shuttle for international and out of state students living at or around USF. 

“Each year we create a budget for student government and this year that was one of the things I felt was lacking, especially for a lot of our out of state and international students,” Griffin said. “So I looked at our budget, made some cuts and found the finances to be able to operate a program like this.”

By cutting events like USF day at City Hall, crimping the budget by cutting costs across the board like ordering less promotional items and relying on the room left in the annual budget for new initiatives, Griffin said they were able to successfully find the funds needed to offer the complimentary service. 

Students who register on BullSync will have a designated departure time and will meet the busses with their luggage at the Marshall Student Center bus loop and hop on the Bull Runner chosen to act as the airport shuttle. 

Student Government reached out to Parking and Transportation Services to request the rides for students and is offering multiple trips in the days prior to Thanksgiving and once again prior to winter break. 

Students also will have an option to use a return shuttle, which will transport students from the airport back to campus on Nov. 27. 

Griffin said getting the bus was easy, as anyone can rent out a Bull Runner as long as they fill out the proper paperwork and pay the fee. However, they did have to work to find the funds and partner with Tampa International Airport to ensure it approved buses full of students coming multiple times a day.

Many students rely on friends or roommates to give them a ride to the airport. The average cost for an UberX runs between $18 and $25 for a trip from USF to the Tampa International Airport. The same trip in a Yellow Cab taxi averages around $45. 

According to Griffin, 30 students have already signed up for the service and he expects many more to do so closer to Thanksgiving and winter break. The specific dates for winter break have yet to be determined. 

“There are a couple of other universities that do have a program like this, but this was also just listening to international and out of state students,” Griffin said. “They don’t have cars and being asked by a lot of people, ‘Hey can you drive me to the airport,’ made me realize we should have a more formalized way for the people who don’t have somebody they can just ask to drive them to the airport.”

There are 7,658 out-of-state students and 6,200 international students enrolled on the Tampa campus this fall, according to the USF Info Center. If enough students show interest in the service, Griffin said he expects the complimentary service to continue to be offered in following years. 

“As long as we get a large enough attendance, I don’t see why they wouldn’t want to continue it in the future, but it’s all going to depend on do students want the service or are they good without it?” Griffin said. “If the students want it, we’ll continue it.”