All students attending UMW, whether on-campus or off-campus, have access to a form of free transportation, the Fred Bus. This may be of particular help to those without a car that are dependent on outside forms of transportation to get to class. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to using this service.
Julia Perdomo, a senior biology major, believes that riding the Fred bus is a great option for people who do not have cars on campus.
“My experience with the Fred Bus has always been positive,” said Perdomo. “It’s a great way to visit different areas of Fredericksburg, especially since none of my friends and I had cars on campus.”
Students can take the Fred Bus at several stops around campus. Two of the bus stops are in front of the University Center and one is near Combs Hall. Students can also catch the Fred Bus at the bus station that is located near the restaurant Umi on Route 1, which is a short walk from the campus.
While this may sound like a great alternative, students’ opinions and experiences regarding the Fred Bus varies. Public transportation is never perfect, and reliability is not always guaranteed. Traffic may cause some buses to arrive late, which can lead to late destination arrival times.
Amana Kassem, a senior biology major, believes that a few changes could help improve the experience for people riding the Fred Bus.
“I like the idea of having a free form of transportation, but I feel like it’s not flexible enough to accommodate for all students,” said Kassem. “I wish there were more stops at some places. It is also not a reliable form of transportation since the bus arrives at the station every hour but runs late most days of the week.”
Students who use the Fred Bus as their transportation to campus have to change their schedule to fit the bus schedule. Catching the bus at the wrong time can make the student late for class.
Although the Fred Bus is an alternative option to get to different locations, it could offer more options to make it more flexible to students.
Certain routes could require more stops because some people have to walk a long distance to reach the stop closest to them. This can be dangerous since some bus stops require riders to cross busy intersections when getting on or off the bus.
Buses that go around Fredericksburg usually leave the station at the thirty-minute interval every hour. Students may have to transfer to another bus depending on where they want to go, and this extra step can make it take longer to reach their destination.
Allison Ambrose, a senior business administration major, believes the drivers make riding the Fred Bus an experience.
“I think my most memorable times riding the Fred is when I would get on and the lady who frequently drove the evening bus would recognize me and my friends, and always asked, ‘how are you ladies doing today,’” said Ambrose. “I think knowing she knew who we were and would make sure we always made it back onto the bus after a trip out always made me feel like riding the Fred was the safest option for anyone, UMW student or not. All the drivers really care about those who they shuttle around and I think they really add quality to the face of the Fredericksburg community.”
The Eagle Express is a service provided by the Fred Bus that allows UMW students to get around Fredericksburg on the weekends. The Eagle Express allows students to get to and from destinations such as UMW, Eagle Village, Central Park and the Spotsylvania Towne Centre.
“Instead of having to walk or just stay on campus because of lack of transportation, it provided my friends and me a fun experience that in my opinion should be experienced by every UMW student at least once before graduating,” said Perdomo.