The Fort Worth Transportation Authority, or the T, will partner with TCU to offer a free shuttle service to students on Friday and Saturday nights.
The shuttles will leave from the regular Frog Shuttle stops and will transport students downtown to the West Seventh Street entertainment area, which includes a Movie Tavern, Montgomery Plaza and a Super Target, according to a press release from the T. The program, which is scheduled to start Friday will run from 6 p.m. to midnight.
The T’s spokeswoman, Joan Hunter, said the new program would be a good way for students to access entertainment venues downtown.
“The service is frequent, and it covers most of the entertainment evening period up until midnight,” she said. “So that students who want to [go to] the movies or go to the restaurants will have plenty of time.”
Hunter also said the service is a good option for the environmentally conscious.
“Public transportation is beneficial both to the wallet, in terms of saving on gas, and also to the environment,” she said. “The T uses compressed natural gas buses. You’re not polluting the air, and you’re saving by using transit versus individual vehicles on the road.”
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Don Mills agreed that the increased “green” factor of the service would provide a major benefit.
“It’s environmentally sound because it’ll take cars off the road, which will take exhaust out of the air,” Mills said.
Mills said the program would be a good way for TCU students to get out in Fort Worth.
“This is something we’ve worked on for quite some time, but I think it will enable students to go downtown or go to the Seventh Street area…and be able to come back,” he said. “They won’t have to worry about parking, and I think for students who don’t have cars, it’ll make it easy for them to get off campus.”
Mills said the university began working with the T to create the program after a group of students approached the Board of Trustees last fall asking them to implement some type of shuttle service.
“Our goal was to have it by Valentine’s weekend, and it looks like we’re going to make it,” he said.
Mills said that although this is a pilot program, the university was open to making it a permanent feature. TCU will evaluate how many students use the transportation at the end of the spring semester and decide if they would continue the service.
Junior speech pathology major Jillian Stanfield, who lives on campus, said she could see herself using the program.
“It would keep [students] safe and save money, too,” she said. “I think people would use it because of convenience, but they’d be safe in doing so.”
TCU Police Sgt. Alvin Allcon said the implementation of the shuttle service was “a great feature for the students.”
Allcon said that if the program could cut down on students driving after consuming alcohol on the weekends, it would be a success.
“Anytime that people have the freedom to be able to enjoy a drink or two and then not get back in a vehicle is a wonderful thing,” he said.
Allcon also said TCU’s Greek Life organizations employ similar tactics to keep their members safe.
“Quite frankly, that’s what a lot of fraternities and sororities are doing now when they’re going to events,” he said. “They’re hiring buses to transport them to their venue to avoid the driving issue.”