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UHV shuttle service makes debut

By Carolina Astrain
Oct. 1, 2012 at 5:01 a.m.
Updated Oct. 2, 2012 at 5:02 a.m.

UHV student driver Jurrell Thomas, 18, right, of San Antonio, picks up fellow students, including Tameka Saddler, 18, left, on the new UHV shuttle Friday morning. The new UHV shuttle offers students and staff free rides to and from campus.

When Les Garcia decided to retire from Victoria Transit, he left feeling as if he still had work to do.

The former Victoria Transit operations manager is now the University of Houston-Victoria's shuttle service supervisor, a position created for a new free shuttle service between campus and the dorms.

"A lot of the students' parents are grateful for this sort of service," Garcia said. "I imagine that the parents of ADA students are especially grateful."

Garcia said he's no stranger to the shuttles that were purchased from his former employer.

The shuttles make regular stops at the University Center, University West, Jaguar Hall and Jaguar Court.

Students can request to be taken to the Victoria College/UHV Library and Victoria College Sports Center, Garcia said. "They just have to call the clerk at Jaguar Hall."

Red, white and black wraps with a UHV Jaguar should be on all three of the buses by the end of October, Garcia said.

Shuttle driver freshman Jurrell Thomas applied for the position through his federal work-study grant.

Thomas said he wakes up about 7 a.m. to make his morning shift and then heads to class after making the rounds.

"It's pretty chill," Thomas said. "We're limited to working 20 hours a week."

The San Antonio native said they want to add more drivers to the crew of four students and one full-time driver.

"We're looking for about four to five more student drivers," Thomas said.

Prerequisites for the job include no speeding tickets and taking a defensive driving course.

Unlike school bus drivers, the shuttle drivers aren't required to have their commercial driver's license.

"The difference is the number of passengers," Garcia said.

University officials saw a need for the buses because of the traffic on Houston Highway, he said.

"We had to get these students to classes in a safe manner," Garcia said. "We have about 450 to 500 students who ride the shuttle a day."

Before the shuttle service, students who walked to classes crossed the busy highway to get to campus.

By next summer Garcia said he hopes the shuttle service will expand to trips off campus.

"We're hoping it'll be to where students can go out on trips to the beach," Garcia said.



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