HOUGHTON - Parking is a serious problem at Michigan Technological University, and to alleviate the issue, the newly formed Transportation Services is operating shuttle service more frequently.
Husky Motors will now be operating a free shuttle service between the Student Development Complex, Daniell Heights, Wadsworth Hall and the Memorial Union Building on weekdays.
"In 2009, President Glenn Mroz launched the Parking Task Force to look at several issues on campus related to parking," said George Butvilas, interim director of facilities management and transportation at Michigan Tech.
A parking consultant was hired and a study was conducted to explore issues with parking. One recommendation was to create a shuttle solely dedicated to a route between the SDC and the MUB, Butvilas said.
There was a fair amount of demand from the residents at Daniell Heights who were looking for evening services, and the new shuttle service may cater to some of those needs. The new shuttle will operate mornings and afternoons, beginning at 7:30 a.m. and ending in the evening, around 7 p.m.
"It runs three hours in the morning and then three hours in the afternoon," he said.
The shuttle will operate every 16 minutes at the stops.
"This will allow (students) to get around campus easier," he said.
Butvilas said they plan to revisit the schedule and see how it is working.
Butvilas said the new shuttle service is meant to augment the service already offered by the city of Houghton concerning transportation. The service is set to begin Wednesday on campus.
"It's not meant to replace it," he said. "It's for high-demand periods."
Currently, parking issues and changes at the SDC have yet to be determined, he said. Michigan Tech also has its Zipcar service, which allows members to reserve a car online or by phone and use a Zipcard to enter the car. The car can be used and returned to the same location. Members get 24-hour access to Zipcars.
Kevin Cassell, president of the Graduate Students Government, took to GSG's YouTube page in a video to explain how changes will affect graduate students. He said Michigan Tech loses about $450,000 a year in parking and parking at Tech's campus is less expensive than many other college campuses.
Up until the 2012-13 school year, faculty and staff were not charged to park on campus, he said, which is something that will change, as well as increased parking permit fees and stricter parking enforcement.
"They need a system to pay for itself," he said.
Cassell said he was able to speak with Butvilas concerning parking at the SDC, which could include a change where parking is free for the first two hours only. Cassell also said about $30,000 in parking fines has yet to be collected from students with tickets. When told students may feel blindsided by increased fees, Cassell said GSG was told in 2011 there would be increases in parking fees.
"We have to get the word out better than we have been doing," he said.
For more information and to download a shuttle schedule, visit mtu.edu/facilities/parking/information/.