Wednesday, Sept. 19, Blacksburg Transit celebrated its 3.5 millionth rider with an event in front of Burruss Hall.
While that number is large, the fact that students and community members use BT so frequently puts 3.5 million riders in perspective.
“I ride the bus twice a day, five to seven days a week,” said Sheri Draper, a senior biology major, as she waited on her bus by the Drillfield.
Draper said she prefers the bus to and from her apartment in Foxridge each day because it’s less hectic than a car trip would be.
The 3.5 millionth rider event, as well as the Hokie Active Commute celebration, were held on the Drillfield yesterday. It was the culmination of Tech and the BT's effort to provide alternate commuting strategies for residents and students in the area.
The Alternative Transportation Office at Virginia Tech has been holding the Active Commute event since fall of 2005. The purpose is to advocate for the use of "active transportation" in students’ daily commutes, which includes using the bus system, walking and biking to campus.
“The event is to celebrate those students, faculty and staff who use active modes of transportation to get to campus,” said Kitty Zeringue, the Alternative Transportation coordinator.
The office coordinated with the BT, Virginia Tech Police and local bike shops for the event. The organizers offered a light breakfast and giveaways at their tent and chatted with students.
The Tech Police spoke to students about security, registering their bikes with the University and how to most effectively use bike locks to reduce the risk of theft.
Bicycle mechanics from local shops Bike Barn and East Coasters were at the event offering free tune-ups and advice to students who brought their bikes by. Both bike shops have recently been making an effort to provide outreach and support to the Tech community through similar events around the Blacksburg area.
A mission of the Active Commute Celebration is to help students and the community plan outings using active transportation around the Blacksburg-Christiansburg area. BT helped students at the celebration today plan trips using their routes, and highlighted some upcoming route additions and changes.
In the coming weeks, BT plans to extend coverage of the Commuter Route and create a Second Commuter Route to provide better access between Blacksburg and Christiansburg for commuters.
The Expanded Commuter route will begin on Sept. 20, and will only change a few stop times to accommodate the new route.
The Second Commuter Route is expected to start on Monday, Sept. 24, and will provide transit access to the northern residential areas of Christiansburg along Peppers Ferry Road and ultimately into the Cambria area of Christiansburg. This is in addition to the current Two Town Trolley route, which connects many of the shopping areas in Christiansburg with the Tech campus.
“(Blacksburg) Transit plays a vital role in a lot of people’s lives from getting students to class to getting people to their doctors appointments. BT is glad to help everyone,” said Fiona Rhodes, marketing specialist for the BT.
According to Rhodes, both the Expanded Commuter route and the Second Commuter route are based around an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. traditional workday, with a focus on getting commuters to and from work as efficiently as possible.
The exact route is still being finalized, but the aim is simple — to provide new opportunities and active transportation strategies for convenient commutes in the Blacksburg/Christiansburg area for millions more riders.
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