ECU Transit Special Events Coordinator James Keel, left, and Transit Supervisor Stacy King stand in front of the shuttle that transports riders to Raleigh Durham airport during ECU breaks and holidays. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)
NONSTOP: ECU TO RDU
New bus service helps students catch holiday flights
Nov. 22, 2013
By Jamitress Bowden
ECU News Services
East Carolina University students who live outside of eastern North Carolina must go the extra mile when they travel home for the holidays. If flights are unavailable locally, that extra effort often means facing heavy Raleigh-bound traffic and racking up high costs in airport parking fees.
A new ECU Transit program is helping make long-distance travel a little easier for the university community, by providing round trip transportation from ECU to Raleigh-Durham Airport before semester breaks and holidays.
Students, faculty, staff and their guests can purchase tickets, $30 each way, to Raleigh through the ticket office in Mendenhall Student Center or online at ECUARTS.com. The bus will pick riders up and drop them off at Mendenhall or on College Hill Drive, according to a schedule published online.
Seventy-one tickets were sold during the inaugural trips to RDU this October for ECU's fall break, said James Keel, special events coordinator with ECU Transit.
"I know in the past some students have been stuck here because it wasn't financially feasible to get home," Keel said, "I hope we are making progress in changing that (with this service)."
Bus drivers will verify each rider's information by checking the rider's ticket and OneCard. Passengers are then driven straight to Terminal 1 at RDU.
Keel said a lot of people like the service. "It saves time and saves gas. You just hop on a bus and end up at RDU," he said. So far 43 tickets have been purchased for Thanksgiving travels and 16 for winter break. Ticket sales cover the costs for the driver, fuel and vehicle maintenance.
Jeff Vogel, parent of freshman Matthew Vogel, heard about the potential service provided to RDU during his son's orientation session. Vogel said the ticket pricing is fair considering other options.
"I hope it continues. It makes flying that much easier," Vogel said. "I think this shows the school's commitment to the out-of-state students."
Zack Hawkins, director of ECU's Office of Parent and Family Programs, said parents have been asking for transportation service to RDU. He wants to make sure current and future Pirate parents know about the service.
"We've expanded from being a regional school…now we're up and down the eastern seaboard," said Hawkins.
For more information about the shuttle service to RDU, visit http://www.ecu.edu/transit/bus_routes-rdu_shuttle.cfm.