No longer will students have to beg their friends with cars for a ride to the beach or go through the headache of parking and using up gas for a weekend break to grab some sun. Student Government (SG), in conjunction with the Office of Student Affairs, has created an additional weekend route for the Hurry ‘Cane shuttle system that will allow students to get to and from Key Biscayne.
Beginning Sunday, a shuttle will run from Dickinson Drive and Stanford Circle to Crandon Park on Key Biscayne from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To celebrate the kick-off of the new Key Biscayne shuttle, SG is sponsoring a barbeque and beach party open to all UM students.
“We’ve been pumping it up all week, not just through SG publicity but through dorm programming in the Residence Halls,” SG President Pete Maki said. “We will be having a DJ while [students]are waiting for the bus to pick them.”
For the opening day, coordinators have anticipated a high volume of students and have arranged for two extra buses for this weekend’s transportation from Dickinson Drive. After Sunday, there will only be one hurricane shuttle leaving from both stops.
“I hope to have about 1,000 students attend the barbeque this weekend,” Maki said.
The idea of a beach shuttle was a key part of Maki’s campaign last spring and became one of the first projects he began working on after the elections.
“[Former Senator] Peter Groverman and I were thinking a few years ago that school is so close to the beach, but the University provides no way of getting there,” Maki said.
Dr. Pat Whitely, vice president for student affairs, played a central role in instituting the idea, and the cost of the shuttle came out of her yearly budget. Next year, the financial obligations will be alleviated through parking fees.
Maki explained that the shuttle is another step in making UM a campus where it is not necessary to have a car in hopes of reducing the parking issues that trouble students.
“The beach shuttle was the final piece of the reason not to need a car,” he said.
Students are permitted to use the shuttle system whether they live on campus or not. While most commuter students may not find the shuttle as useful as students living on campus without cars, the goal is to make the beach a UM hang out that is readily available to all.
“As much as you expect to see a bunch of UM students at Monty’s on Friday afternoon, we want to see students at the beach on Saturday and Sunday,” Maki said.
The student reactions to the new Key Biscayne shuttle have been positive and met with enthusiasm.
“I don’t have a car so this is a good opportunity to get to the beach,” Crystal Williams, senior, said. “It’s very convenient to have this [shuttle]take students to Crandon Park.”
Stacey Arnold can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.