Commute Green on Earth Day and Everyday

Did you know you can purchase a bundle of one-day parking permits to park on campus, get discounted Metro cards, or even rent a Zipcar on campus?

Many of our readers commute to the UMD campus, and others are effected by the choices made by those who work or study here. To the end of encouraging transit and minimizing the number of cars on campus, the Department of Transportation Services has circulated a list of programs and services that encourage “green” commutes.

Bundle Pack Permits
Bundle pack permits are the perfect solution for commuter students, faculty, or staff members who might have only the occasional need to drive a vehicle to campus. Each bundle pack contains 10 one-day parking permits and costs only $25. You may purchase a bundle pack at the DOTS Regents Drive Garage office.

Green Permit (Coming in Fall 2008)
The Green Permit will continue our efforts of giving incentive and rewarding those who use environmentally friendly methods to commute to and around campus. Such incentives include better lot choices and discounted permits for members of our carpooling program, free hours of Zipcar use, and Metrochek/Smart Trip pre-tax benefits. By offering a discounted permit to a qualifying vehicle based on fuel efficiency, emissions and environmental impact, we are joining the University’s efforts to encourage environmentally aware and friendly citizens on campus. The qualifying details of the Green Permit program are still in the process of being finalized and will be published soon. Please keep visiting www.transportation.umd.edu for updates.

Metrochek/Smart Trip Pre-tax Deductions
If you regularly use public transportation for your commute to work, then this program is a true benefit for you. You can literally save hundreds of dollars annually because the deductions you authorize through an automatic payroll deduction are taken from your pay PRE-TAX. Visit http://www.transportation.umd.edu/alt_trans/metro.html for more information.

Park & Rides and Shuttle Service
DOTS offers fare-free bus services from the Bowie, Burtonsville and Laurel park & ride lots to the College Park campus. Passengers can park their cars in conveniently located lots and take the shuttle bus to campus. These routes are part of the DOTS commuter service and run several times a day. In addition, we operate 13 other commuter routes and five evening service routes that extend into the neighboring communities. For route and schedule information about these park & rides and other routes, please visit our website.

Smart Park Carpool
This program allows students to locate other people who are interested in forming a carpool. Carpool participants share the cost of the carpool permit and the convenience of carpooling to campus. Participants also enjoy the benefits of better lot choices and discounted personal permits. Benefits of carpooling include: decrease in the number of drivers on the road, decrease in the amount of gas consumed, lowered amount of emissions in the air, decrease in the amount of parking needed, and reduced wear on personal vehicles. Visit our website for more information.

Zipcar
The Department of Transportation Services has partnered with Zipcar to offer students, faculty, and staff the benefits of a car-sharing service. As a Zipcar member, you have access to five cars on campus and nearly 700 cars parked all over the DC metro area. Members can drive Zipcars by the hour or by the day. No need to worry about gas, insurance or maintenance. Just reserve online, let yourself in with your Zipcard, and drive away. Even students, 18-20, have the opportunity to join. Faculty and staff Zipcar members who qualify for the Faculty/Staff Premier Plan can get six monthly driving hours free credited to their personal Zipcar accounts. For more information about this plan and using a Zipcar, visit www.transportation.umd.edu/alt_trans/zipcar .

9 thoughts on “Commute Green on Earth Day and Everyday”

  1. Well, I am underwhelmed by this list of wonderful green solutions.
    Every one of them involves people traveling to the campus. I would think there would be a number of employees who do their work on a computer which does not need to be in College Park. Yes, I am talking about telecommuting. It seems to me that to allow some employees to telecommute one or two days a week would have a number of benefits. It would reduce the cost of commuting for the employee. It would give the employee some extra time on telecommuting days. It could reduce the need for office space on the campus.

    Well, I could go on, but I’m sure my betters have enough to work on for now.

  2. I have to give big props to DOT for the bundle packs.
    When the price of a campus permit went up over $300 per year it was the motivation I needed to forgo driving to campus. I was always reluctant to get rid of my permit before because there were always days where I just have to drive in. Got a off campus meeting, need to carry lots of equipment, whatever. Anyway I got the bundle pack and was able to park in LOT 1 on those days. I could use the permit only on days I needed them. The rest of the time I rode the bike. Its a GREAT alternative for folks who don’t want to drive in everyday.

    RE: Jane Doe
    You are right in telecommuting needs to be supported more. My wife works at home for campus right now. So the option is there. It is up to each department to use it as they wish. This post was about commuting options.

  3. Jane Doe underwhelmed by a positive step in the right direction taken by the campus? Imagine that! Now there’s something you dont see every day! Similar to Clay’s wife, I will be telecommuting in my new role w/ U of Md, so I know it is an option if the position can work in that model.

    I am impressed with the University’s efforts to be more green. It is an issue that is taken seriously. And the actions back up the words. If we could just get the purple line issue right, whatever the right answer may be.

  4. “This post was about commuting options.”

    Yes, Clay that is what it was about. The title of this blog is ‘Rethink College Park’. I was trying to suggest the the U and DOTS should ‘Rethink Daily Commuting’.

  5. When I first read this post, I thought to myself great, how fantastic – a whole lot of brand new, yet useless plans to help the environment by creating alternative options for commuters. It is at times when I read plans like this that I wonder most whether the people creating all these ideas really have actual users of their plans in mind or whether the true goal is simply to say they did something and have some sort of proof.
    The Department of Transportation Services has circulated a list of these programs and services that supposedly encourage “green” commutes and minimize the number of cars on campus – in reality most of them will never achieve even a minor substantial impact, each carrying major flaws.
    Bundle Pack Permits for one are an idea that has minimal benefit for 99% of the campus considering the fact that most people whose cars you see parked all along campus have to be there more than just 10 times. For the people that don’t there’ve long been alternatives of guest parking and parking meters as well as parking in most lots after 4pm if that’s when you need it and etc. What happens when a commuter who thought they need to be on campus only 10 times, has to come in for a weekend and has no where to purchase the extra permit, even worse several weekends.
    Green Permit (Coming in Fall 2008) is actually probably the dumbest idea of all that are proposed considering the fact that a large majority of cars already on campus belong to commuter students who for the most part don’t have a major freedom of choice to which car they drive – and thus are not going to be going out buying that hybrid to get lower permit costs. Furthermore, most people already have a car and will not be going in trading their car in for something more environmental losing money most likely, all simply to save 20$ on a permit. The only thing that the green permit is going to achieve is giving out undeserved benefits to people lucky enough to be driving a good mileage vehicle to campus at the moment. As encouragement goes, it will offer none. It will simply spread rewards in a lottery like manner as one would know from a basic economics course considering the fact that people already have “sunk costs” in their current vehicles.
    Smart Park Carpool would offer a good option for those that don’t mind sharing the car with that smelly obese guy who apparently lives nearby but those that are fine with the option have been carpooling since long before the valuable release of this document. Also the link doesn’t work.
    The Zipcar option is even more foolish offering absolutely nothing for most drivers on campus, since it still pollutes the environment just for a higher cost to the user.
    As far as Jane Doe’s suggestion goes, the use of technology is the only way to improve conditions significantly as shown in economics studies that is without altering other inputs or in other words changing our lifestyle. If there were more classes on campus that were to become relatively paperless or mixed paperless, online, etc. such as HISP200, that would offer an option for people who chose not to come to class not to do so without any serious detriment. Commuters would commute less for it would be expensive, time consuming and lacking few benefits to them, there’d be less cars on campus. If any job that could be done by telecommuting like Clay’s wife’s job, that again would decrease a lot of the issues and among other things lower the congestion. But as far as of any suggestions made, that is the only one that even slightly makes sense or creates some sort of positive impact, while as most of the things that are proposed by DOTS are simply empty words that won’t really do anything except give off the aura of environmental conscientiousness.

  6. After reading this list of “green options” I am somewhat disappointed. Some of the ideas are good, but will doubtfully work in helping the environment. These ideas are mediocre in attempting to actually make the campus a more environmentally friendly place. This list of new ways to go green on campus really isn’t new, and really isn’t a good list.
    Starting with the bundle pack parking permits, this will make it easier to bring a car onto campus, which is completely opposite of the goal to go green. I do not understand how this new parking feature on campus will in any way help the environment. This is convenient, however, for all students to know about, just in case they would like to have their car on campus for a day. If I had known about this feature last year I would not have gotten 7 parking tickets, so it would have saved me quite a bit of money, but it will not help to save the environment when it is making the campus more inviting to drive and park on. This feature in my opinion will bring more cars onto the UMD campus and will not be an environmentally friendly option.
    In agreement with Alexander, the Green Permit is not a good idea. While it may promote more people to carpool, it will not necessarily reduce the number of cars on campus. Tons of commuter students already carpool onto campus, and rewarding them is a great way to show appreciation for being green, but the fact that they are giving discounts to commuter students who drive environmentally friendly cars is absolutely ridiculous. Many people who park here on campus are COLLEGE STUDENTS seeing how this is a college, and they are not going to be able to afford hybrids and other environmentally friendly cars. I personally am thankful to have a car that I can drive if need be. I am completely not in control of the fuel efficiency of my vehicle. The only people I can see benefiting from this new permit are the few people on campus with nice cars.
    The Metrochek/ Smart Trip deductions and the free bus services to park-and-rides are probably most environmentally friendly options on this list. I am totally for public transportation, and anyone commuting every day on the metro has my vote. I think it would be difficult to commute in this way since it takes a long time to wait for a bus, ride the bus, and then walk wherever you need to go on campus, but if commuters are willing to leave early than this would be the most environmentally friendly options.
    The smart park carpool is a good idea since it would reduce the number of cars on campus, but I could see conflict with who gets the “shared permit” and when. Also, students have to go on campus unexpectedly, so there could be conflicts with two people paying for the same parking pass and needing it at different times. When students get out of class at different times and have intense social schedules, homework, etc., I have a feeling that lots of conflict would arise. I could see this working out only in certain situations, but in those cases the people would most likely already carpool together.
    The zipcar is a good thought to include on campus, but probably will not get much of a response from students. Most students are not willing to pay $7.25 an hour during the week and up to $13 an hour on the weekends for a little car that looks stupid to drive and you have to worry about getting back on time. The majority of college students do not have money to spare for a zipcar, let alone pay for rent or groceries. Even with gas being so expensive, it is still cheaper to pay for an hour’s worth of gas than pay for an hour’s driving time in a zipcar. The zipcar is a normal car, so it is not more environmentally friendly than a regular car that would be cheaper to drive.
    In agreement with Jane Doe, this list of green options involving commuting should involve more telecommuting options. Telecommuting really is the most environmentally friendly way. As for ways the campus is trying to help become green, they should start smaller. Commuting in itself is not environmentally friendly whatsoever, no matter how many zipcars we add to the equation. Lets try recycling more.

  7. The ideas that UM gave towards the commuters seem useless. The discount metro card, and shuttle is the only two ideas that may actually help the commuters. The other ideas are actually not helpful towards the commuters, in my opinion.
    First, the bundle of one-day parking permits seems very useless. I mean, it doesn’t say where you can park with the purchase of this one day parking permit but if you can’t park at any parking garages, I say what the point of these parking permit is. If you only can park at lot 6 and 1 or any other numbers parking lots, why would we buy the one day parking permit the regular parking permit is only $300 dollars per year. Paying $300 dollars is way cheaper than paying $25 dollars to park for ten days. In someway as Clay said it may be usefull for commuters who only have to ride their car sometimes but if the commuter don’t have a bike or don’t live near college park that they have to drive all the time this idea does not seem to be very great.
    The green permit can be the most useless idea out of all the ideas that umd presented. I mean, honestly giving discount to cars only that qualify for vehicle based on fuel efficiency. This idea is ridiculous; a lot of our student’s commuters may drive their parent’s car which can be a bigger and a more non fuel efficiency car. Also, just because students want to save parking permits money which can only be like $50 dollars depending on the discount, which seems like it wouldn’t be that much, is not going to make students to buy a another car that may be a hybrid or a great fuel efficiency. It can be a good idea to start to save our communities environment but honestly, students don’t have the time to think about the environment, their too busy studying they won’t bother to get a green permit that will only give few percent of discount.
    The metrochek, smart trip pre-tax deductions, and park & rides and shuttle service is the best idea that the students and commuters may be happy to hear. Since a lot of commuters come through metro this can be a great idea, rather than green permits and one day parking permits, this idea actually does save money for the commuters.
    Also, the shuttle service is great to because a lot of commuters ride shuttles to save gas and parking permit.
    The zip car idea can be useful in someway but overall it seems very useless to commuters. It has a benefit that there are parking lots almost everywhere you go and the parking fee is free but on the other hand, the cost of the rental can be more than one just driving their own car and commuting.
    This idea has nothing to do with the topic but the parking tickets are ridiculous. If it thinks of how many parking permits I received, I would rather buy the one-day parking permit. Paying $75 dollars per parking ticket you get seems too high of a price for commuters. I mean if UMD is offering a discount on people who have fuel efficiency cars why can’t they reduce the price of the ticket.

  8. RE: Alexander Gorelik
    I agree with some of the points you have made but I wanted to voice my opinion on something I disagreed with. I actually feel that the bundle pack permits would be a great means for those that don’t necessarily drive to campus everyday but also do not want or can not afford those ridiculous prices for a semester parking permit. I am a commuter student and I am usually able to take the shuttle to get to school; however, there are definitely those days where my schedule with work will conflict with the time schedule for the shuttle and I will be forced to drive in. Now I understand you mentioned that there are parking garages and meters all around campus and that is true. But finding a meter parking on campus is probably as hard as for an 85 year old woman trying to put thread in a needle hole. Let us just say it is hard! Once you find a meter, if you are lucky enough and it is a 3 hr meter, you have to pour in coins after coins and still worry about getting back in time before one of those super campus securities fine you with a whopping $75 ticket. Second, those parking garages you referred to usually charge about $2/hr for parking. Now by the time you park, walk to class, go to the library, grab lunch and walk back to the parking lot you have probably owe the cashier an arm and a leg. I understand most parking lots on campus are free after 4pm and weekends but what about a commuter like me that has classes in between the ‘free to par’ listed hours? I have well paid over $25 for parking 10 times on campus. I am just saying, considering from that perspective the bundle pack permits sound like a god sent gift.

    I definitely agree on you with the Green Permit. I do not have too many options when it comes to the kind of car I have right now. I would give up my 8 cylinder Lincoln in a heart beat if I were able drive a good mileage vehicle. I am sure the majority of us would love a nice gas economical hybrid, and then to be rewarded for saving our wallets the dent from today’s gas prices! Having a hybrid is a reward itself! I do believe that the smart park carpool idea offers a better motivation for those, as you said, that wouldn’t mind sharing a vehicle with neighbors. I also somewhat like the Zipcar idea because it’s kind of all in the package. Zipcar pays for the gas and insurance. You also do not need a permit to park on campus. I believe the idea of renting a vehicle to students with the age of 18-20 is also an option that you rarely see at most rental agencies. Of course if you are in that age range, you need a refundable deposit of $250. Ouch!

    Honestly, I don’t know if this list of programs The Department of Transportation Services has circulated will encourage “green” commutes and minimize the number of cars on campus, but I am favorable in Bundle Pack Permits just because it seems convenient to me, as commuter student of Maryland.

  9. Jamie Schwartz
    Hisp200 Extra Credit Assignment 2
    Commute Green on Earth Day and Everyday

    So to help the problem of pollution and over population of vehicles on campus DOTS (Department of Transportation Services) has finally come up with and announced some new programs that they hope will alleviate these problems. Some of these programs sound like a great idea however some do not.
    The Bundle Pack Permits seem like just a way for the University to squeeze more money out of the people that go here. Its very obvious that if students go to school here and faculty work here they would need more than 10 one-day parking permits. These packs cost 25 dollars each. There’s roughly 4 months in a school semester. There’s about 20 school days a month. So about 80 school days a semester. A student that wants to park on campus (just on the school days mind you) needs to pay for 8 of these packs. That’s 200 dollars. I don’t see how this is fair to the students. I personally think that students that pay to go here should get parking for free for all the money they give this university every year. Many students have cars on campus especially students that live in Maryland and go home often. The whole parking passes program is just a way for the University to take advantage of the people in the community. Back at home the college near my old high school has 1 day parking spaces that costs 50 cents every 6 hours and only during school hours. If the University actually cared about its students and faculty they would inherit a better system to control parking on campus.
    The Green Permit is another program that I think should be disbanded immediately even before they should enact it. What this University is doing is giving preference of parking and prices to people whom basically have hybrids. Do they not realize that cars like hybrids can cost anywhere from 3000-6000 dollars more than the average fuel burning car. By creating this program they are rewarding those who have more money over those who cannot afford cars that cost this much. Attitudes like this are the reason why there is an increasing gap between the rich and the poor. Not exactly the green permit, but the concept of rewarding the wealthier and punishing the poor. In reality it’s the rich that make laws and policy. These laws and policy continue to help the rich and keep the poor in the lower class. In my CIVICUS program that I am part of we learn about injustices that give unfair advantages and rewards to the rich and disregard the needs of the needy. Even if it just about parking on a campus, the scale doesn’t matter an injustice is an injustice. I think the whole idea of the Green Permit is a terrible idea. The sad thing is that this unfair advantage will be overshadowed by the whole, healthier for the environment issue.
    The Metrochek/Smart Trip Pre-tax Deductions program seems like a great idea. Everyone pays taxes and by letting people make reductions through their transportation prices will benefit everyone that takes public transportation. This would even convince me to use public transportation more often.
    The Park and Rides and Shuttle Service is also a great idea to try and get people to use public transportation. In San Francisco, they have similar programs. There are designated parking spaces near public transportation stops on the outskirts of the city. My aunt and uncle, who live there park outside the city near the train stations and take the subway into the city.
    The Smart Park Carpool and Zipcar programs are also great ideas. Everyone in the University community can benefit from carpooling and using the Zipcars whenever they need transportation out of the immediate community. The carpooling program not only helps the environment, but it also helps individual social capital and social networking by meeting new people to carpool with.
    I think that there should be new programs on campus to help the problem of overcrowding and pollution. But I think the new programs should only be enacted if they help everyone equally and doesn’t disadvantage anyone.

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