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Salem State Provides New Green Commuting Options

Salem State is offering an exciting suite of transportation options for the SSU community this summer. The university is committed to bringing convenient, affordable alternatives to driving alone to students, faculty and staff. This will reduce congestion, costs and environmental impact while also focusing on healthier habits.

Two brand new programs, the miles2share ridesharing app and SPIN electric scooters, are launching this summer. This past spring saw the expansion of the popular Zagster bike share program. Coming in September 2019, the MBTA plans more frequent service on the bus lines which serve Salem State. These new and improved programs join longstanding options such as the campus shuttle and Zipcars.

A campus survey in fall 2018 revealed that a striking 76 percent of Salem State’s students and employees drive alone to and from campus, contributing more than 30 percent to our greenhouse gas emissions. The program with the greatest potential to mitigate this is miles2share. This ride-sharing app offers an exclusive network for the Salem State community. Drivers post the routes they travel while riders enter their destination and timing. Drivers and riders with matched routes are encouraged to connect before agreeing to share rides. Payment is handled through the app. Student feedback on the concept in the spring indicated tremendous excitement about the program’s use for both regular commutes and one-time trips. Drivers can make a little extra money while driving their own cars while riders will find the pricing quite a bit cheaper than Uber or Lyft.

Our micromobility options include Zagster bikes and electric scooters. These should help shift people’s mindset from worrying about where they will park to wondering which non-car transportation mode they will choose for their short trips. Salem State subsidizes the Zagster bikes so that the first two hours of every ride are free for students and employees. Over 700 of the program members are from the Salem State community and the hub on SSU’s Central Campus is the system’s most active. With 90 bikes and 16 hubs, the citywide program has been extremely popular, topping 15,000 rides recently.

Zagster is also managing the electric scooter program. They are placing 250 SPIN scooters at designated “drop zones” throughout the city in mid-July. On campus, there are scooter parking spots at the dorms, the School of Social Work, the library, Gassett Fitness Center, central campus bike path, Ellison, and Sullivan. The scooters zip up to 15 mph with 5 mph speeds in north and central campus slow zones. The city has no-go zones on Highland Avenue and the Essex Street pedestrian mall. Scooters will also slow to zero mph at city borders.

To encourage students to use public transit, especially the #455 and #459 bus lines that serve Salem State’s campus along Loring Avenue and Lafayette Street, the university is partnering with the MBTA to provide Charlie Cards and MBTA brochures to incoming students. Charlie Cards offer bus/subway fare discounts and can help students feel more comfortable trying public transportation.  In September, the MBTA will launch more frequent service on both bus lines. Stay tuned for more on that and for details on upgrades to the campus shuttle service that helps students move between campuses.

Finally, the two Zipcars parked on Central Campus are available to anyone 18 years or older with a valid driver’s license. Drivers can rent them for as little as an hour at a time. Gas and roadside assistance are included.

More details on all of these green commuting options can be found at salemstate.edu/commuting.

Contact
Tara Gallagher
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