Imagine the Downtown Campus with less traffic at the peak of class change. Now, imagine traveling through Sunnyside without vehicular and pedestrian tie-ups.

Beginning Saturday, July 22, those scenarios may be possible when West Virginia University and the Mountain Line Transit Authority join forces on a project to expand local bus routes in the city.

The initiative, according to officials, is aimed at alleviating traffic congestion and expanding transportation options for students and employees, as well as community residents and visitors.

The idea is to get people out of their cars and off the roadways by taking advantage of mass transit services,said Bob Roberts, WVU director of public safety and transportation.With WVU and Morgantown growing so rapidly, we just have to be more creative in finding ways for people to move around our campus and city without tying up roadways. This initiative is a first step.

David Bruffy, Mountain Line general manager, agreed.

Were basically trying to change the way people think about mass transportation,he said.It may be far more convenient to hop on a bus to get to your location than to get in your car and drive through traffic to the other side of townonly to have trouble finding a parking spot there. At the very least, were asking folks to try it.

The plan calls for:

  • adding a continuous Mountain Line bus routethe Blue&Gold Connectorfrom Grant Avenue along Beechurst Avenue. to the Creative Arts Center, along Evansdale Drive by Engineering and Towers, to University Avenue by the College of Law, and back down Eighth Street to Grant/Summit and Life Sciences. This new express bus line will operate year-round, seven days a week, every 20 minutes. Hours will be 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sundays, with slightly varied summer hours. The service is free to students and employees with valid ID and the normal fare (75 cents) for other riders.
  • adding bus shelters, where appropriate, along the new route

WVU officials say the new bus route is in addition to the current arrangement they have with Mountain Line that allows students and employees with valid WVU ID to ride any regular bus routes for free, whether its the Orange, Red, Gold, Campus PM, or any of the other 11 countywide bus lines.

In addition to the new route and services, students and employees are reminded that WVU will continue its current PRT and University bus service schedules.

We feel its important to contribute not only ideas but solutions to the citys traffic issues,Roberts said.We hope people will take advantage of the new bus lines, and let us know if they have other ideas that will help reduce traffic in Morgantown and make this a safer and more enjoyable community in which to live.

Student Government Association President Jason Gross said he thinks students will be excited about the Blue&Gold Connector when they return this fall.

Increasing the number of bus routes will be a good thing for the student body,Gross said,and something student administration supports. If buses are something students can depend on to get from Point A to Point B, then they will consistently ride them. This is a step in the right direction to help alleviate transportation congestion.

For information on the new and current routes, go towww.busride.org, e-mail info@busride.org or call 291-RIDE.