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First Electric Shuttle at the University of Utah is Closer to Reality After Public Open House

File: Alma Allred

The electric shuttle bus project that would move through the middle of the University of Utah campus is another step closer to reality following a public open house Thursday on campus. Alma Allred, the director of the University’s Commuter Servicessays this shuttle will cut the commute time from the South Campus TRAX station to the north side of campus to 7 minutes, down from a maximum of 25 minutes. He says a major portion of the students come through that station.

“People are surprised to find out that as a transit agency, the University of Utah is the second largest transit agency in the state.," says Allred. "We’re bigger that Park City or Logan. We haul about 60-thousand people a week,” he says.

Credit Bob Nelson
Alma Allred, Director of University of Utah's Commuter Services which is overseeing the electric shuttle project.

Allred says Utah Transit Authority’s expertise in securing federal money is the key to the shuttle’s success.

“That cost for the roadway will be paid for by federal funds rather than by funds from Commuter Services." Allred says, "We are an auxiliary. We have to pay our own way. We don’t get any tax appropriations or tuition money.”

The shuttle will use technology developed through USTAR and Utah State University. The buses batteries will be charged using Wireless Advanced Vehicle Electrification or WAVE. The first all-electric bus will be rolling on campus by late fall and the dedicated road is expected to be completed by spring 2014.

The open house is in the Olpin Union Building Thursday from 4:30 to 7 pm.

Bob Nelson is a graduate of the University of Utah with a BA in mass communications. He began his radio career at KUER in 1978 when it was still in Kingsbury Hall. That’s also where he met his wife, Maria Shilaos, in 1981. Bob left KUER for commercial radio where he worked for 25 years, and he is thrilled to be back at KUER. Bob and his family are part of an explorer group, fondly known as The Hordes and Masses, which has been seeking out ghost towns and little-known places in Utah for more than twenty years.
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