By Haley Herfurth
The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s transit service will be operated by Groome Transportation beginning May 1.
“This is an exciting partnership for our campus,” said André Davis, director of UAB Transportation. “We have a vibrant and growing campus community, and our urban setting requires transportation options for our students, faculty and staff. We’re excited to partner with a vendor that has a long history of providing quality service.”
With Groome Transportation, a fleet of temporary buses will launch on campus in May, followed by a new permanent fleet with added amenities in the fall. Planned enhancements for the permanent fleet include automatic ramps and kneeling buses that lower for easier entrance and exit for riders with mobility issues, audio-video surveillance for enhanced security, larger LCD displays, enhanced GPS tracking and quiet-ride buses. Groome will also offer shuttle service to and from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for employees and students.
In support of UAB sustainability initiatives, Groome will introduce propane-fueled buses to the campus in late 2019.
“The commitment to energy efficiency was crucial to the partnership,” Davis said. “As an urban institution, UAB places a priority on sustainability and cutting carbon emissions however we can. These clean diesel and propane buses are just one step we’re taking.”
Initially, Blazer Express routes will remain the same while UAB Transportation explores opportunities to improve routes.
UAB students, faculty and staff provided feedback about parking and transportation at UAB, as well as insight into their thoughts, preferences and needs as part of a comprehensive study conducted in 2016. Parking and transportation improvements are guided by that study and the resulting short- and long-term plans.
“Our campus community will certainly notice the new fleet and other enhancements,” Davis said. “To take full advantage, we’re encouraging everyone to download our new bus tracking app now.” DoubleMap Bus Tracker is the official smartphone app for the Groome Transporation provided system. The app enables users to see all buses in real time to plan their routes. The app is available for download on any Apple or Android device. Online tracking will be available at uab.doublemap.com.
UAB Transportation also has a comprehensive Transportation Demand Management program to help students, faculty, staff and visitors find alternative ways to get to, from and around campus. Options include partnerships with CommuteSmart to promote car and vanpooling, access to carsharing through Zipcar, and bikesharing via Zyp Bikeshare.
Groome Transportation was established in 1934 to provide school bus transportation in the Richmond, Virginia, area. The company now services 18 airport shuttle locations and 15 campuses.