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UK Teaming Up With Lextran To Eliminate Fares For University Riders

Josh James
Lextran bus parked in front of the University of Kentucky's Main Building

With a growing student body, limited parking, and a large number of construction projects dotting campus, University of Kentucky officials are looking for ways to ease traffic congestion - and they're  starting with mass transit.

In the first of several planned announcements, UK officials unveiled a program Tuesday allowing all university students, faculty, staff, and administrators to ride any Lextran route free of charge. Riders will only need to show their Wildcat ID card.

While UK president Eli Caplilouto doesn’t expect the U-Pass program to cancel out students’ need for cars, he says the effort could go a long way toward unsnarling traffic.

"I think you may want to have your car [and] park it in a satellite place, Commonwealth Stadium is an example," the president says. "But the reality of trying to drive within campus is such that... you're not going to be able to build enough roads for everybody to drive their car everywhere they want to go any time they want to go."

Soon-to-be UK senior Jenna Hollinden says her decision to go without a car will now be that much easier.

"While a lot of students may want cars on campus, I think this U-Pass is a step in the right direction for providing students the opportunity to not necessarily need a car on campus," she says. "I know that while not having a car as a freshman was a little bit challenging, there are alternative opportunities that allow students to commute through the campus and also throughout the Lexington community."

Capilouto calls the program a safe option for commuters that will further connect the campus and the city. But true to the old phrase, there's no such thing as a free ride. The $160,000 agreement lasts for one year, with an opportunity to renew should the effort show results.

UK riders can take advantage of the fee-free trips starting July 1.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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