By JESS MASULLI
The Fredericksburg Regional Transit (FRED) bus, which took students from the University to the train station over fall break, will be available for a similar service over Thanksgiving break as well.
The Student Government Association worked with the FRED to put together special routes to accommodate students.
Prior to fall break, students received an e-mail announcing the routes.
According to Ray Young, the FRED Express supervisor, 34 students took the FRED back to UMW on Tuesday afternoon at the end of fall break.
SGA and FRED hope that as more students learn about the service, it will become more popular.
“Hopefully we will see increased ridership as more students know it is available,” SGA President Sean O’Brien said. “We will again have a similar schedule and it will be posted on the SGA website.”
The service was mostly utilized by freshmen that do not have access to cars and do not want to spend money on cabs.
“I learned about the train through the e-mail. The FRED was on time and easy to take,” freshman Lauren Bennett said.
O’Brien was eager to get the service ready for fall break because as a freshman he dealt with trying to find transportation to the train station.
“Being from Connecticut, I took the train home at breaks and I know that many students choose to walk back to campus,” O’Brien said.
This program was also set up to create a better relationship between the FRED and UMW students.
“SGA is working hard this year to foster better relations with the community,” O’Brien said, “and this is a great example of how good things can happen.”
Some students do not trust the FRED to pick them up at the correct time.
Sophomore Kim Lindner walked several times to the train station last year when she could not find upperclassmen to drive.
“I get really nervous about the FRED coming on time so if I was a freshman I’d probably take the earliest bus,” Lindner said.
Freshman Rebecca Walker missed her train due to misreading the schedule.
“The bus was late so I ended up missing my train,” Walker said, “I had to get on a 7:00 p.m. train instead of the 3:40 p.m. train I was originally suppose to be on.”
She recommends that students read the schedule carefully before taking the FRED.
SGA hopes that as more students have positive experiences taking the FRED to the train they will view it as more reliable.
According to Richard Pearce, associate vice president for business and finance, UMW is a partner of the FRED and pays an annual partnership fee of $25,000.
This allows students and employees of UMW to ride the FRED system for free.
“The University also pays the cost of operating the Express Shuttle that runs from campus to the mall and Central Park,” said Pearce.
The cost of the Express Shuttle is $121,000, a combined cost of $146,000 toward the FRED last year.
“Through my own interactions with the FRED they are very concerned with improving their service for UMW students,” said O’Brien.
While many students like freshman Brianna Gavingan will still try to rely on upperclassmen friends to be taken to the train station, the new FRED service provides another option.