VCU to offer free shuttles for traveling students

Janeal Downs
Contributing Writer

Students who plan to travel home to their families this holiday season no longer need to look for a ride to the airport, bus or train station.

RamAway, a shuttle service run by VCU Parking and Transportation, will transport students free of charge to the Richmond International Airport, Greyhound bus station and the Amtrak station on Main Street. Robin Mack, assistant manager of Parking and Transportation, said the idea for RamAway originated after speaking with Groom Transportation, the company who services the Ram Ride shuttles.

“We had a conversation with them about what they were doing at University of Richmond and that kind of sparked the interest to say well we can do sort of the same thing,” Mack said.

Pick-ups are at the Cabell Library and the Larrick Student Center. RamAway will run Nov. 26-27 from 5 a.m. to  5 p.m., and from noon to 8 p.m. on Nov. 29-30. After Thanksgiving break, RamAway will offer transportation back to campus from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 1.

To get back home to New Jersey, junior chemistry major Jalynn Taylor-Farmer has to take the bus. She was unsure of how she would get there until she saw a flier for the service. With the help of RamAway, she is now able to get to the bus station without having to arrange a ride.

“So far it seems pretty good. I like how it’s at the library,” Taylor-Farmer said. “I don’t want to bother anyone to drive me to the station.”

Junior mass communications major Caelon Reed said  she also planned to use RamAway to get to the airport.

“My plans for thanksgiving are to go see my family in Louisiana,” Reed said. “I am going to fly because it is an 18 hour drive, which I just can’t do.”

Unfortunately, she needs to be at the airport at 5 a.m., the time the service starts running. However, she said she does plan on looking into RamAway for transportation for when she returns to Richmond.

“I think it is a good thing for students because people are trying to get home and that eliminates some of the worry of not having a ride,” Reed said.

Miriam Maddux, spokesperson for VCU Parking, said a Ram Safe Shuttle holds up to 18 students at a time.

Students have to sign up online for RamAway. The bus will only be at the stops during times requested.

The office promoted RamAway through advertisements, the TelegRam, postcards and VCU parking and transportation social media sites, Maddux said.

Assistant manager of Parking and Transportation Robin Mack said when students were trasnsported to the sites last winter break, they only had a week to plan and students were charged $10.

Mack said that the service has been more successful than in the past with the help of Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. With time to promote and by planning in advance, VCU’s office of Transportation and Parking was able to increase participation.

As of Nov. 12, 58 people had signed up to use the service. Students can sign up on the VCU Parking website. Registration ends Nov. 25 at 1 p.m.

Students interested in using RamAway can begin signing up Dec. 2 for winter break. The deadline to sign up is Dec. 13. The service will run from Dec. 16-20 from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It’s an affordable, convenient and safe way for students to get to the airport, train station and bus depot and back,” Maddux said.

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