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The Daily Tar Heel

ACT Discusses Public Transportation

Night parking might be in future

*This article has been corrected.

Members of the newly formed Advisory Committee on Transportation met Tuesday to discuss potential improvements to public transportation.

Although discussion at Tuesday's meeting was only preliminary, committee members stressed the need to craft workable options.

Todd Peterson, chief operating officer of UNC Hospitals, said members need to strive to make recommendations that are practical and will be effective. "I don't think we can dabble in public transit."

Committee members debated solutions to problems like overcrowded buses and bus schedules that do not run early or late enough for some riders.

Tommy Griffin, president of the Employee Forum, said buses to park-and-ride lots do not run late enough for some employees who arrive during business hours but work late into the night.

"It's hard to use park-and-ride if you don't have a way to get back to your car at 10, 11, 12 o'clock at night," he said.

Griffin said employees also have problems with bus schedules during the summer because the buses run on a shortened schedule.

Other members said students and employees have a hard time riding buses during peak hours of the morning when buses often run late or are full, leaving would-be riders at the bus stop as they drive by at full capacity.

Peterson said employees are reluctant to take this chance because they know that they could lose their job for repeated tardiness. "Unless it's really reliable, you eliminate a large segment of the target audience."

Student Body President Jen Daum said many students are reluctant to ride the buses because they often fill up at the first stop -- many times a large apartment complex or park-and-ride lot -- leaving the students relying on these buses standing on the side of the road watching the overcrowded bus drive away.

Committee members also discussed the possibility of revisiting discussions about night parking permit systems.

University Police Chief Derek Poarch said ACT has a responsibility to discuss all options, including such a system.

Poarch said that if committee members deem night parking fees a necessary part of a five-year parking plan, members indeed will create detailed night parking plans.

Poarch said members will continue to discuss the issue philosophically. They are not planning to institute anything short term, but it would be irresponsible to plan for the next five years without discussing the option, he said.

Colin Christian, a graduate student representative to ACT, said many graduate students think their contributions as both students and instructors are being undervalued by attempts to institute a night parking permit system, he said.

The University Editor can be reached at

In the Sept. 4 article "ACT Discusses Public Transportation," it was incorrectly reported that University Police Chief Derek Poarch on Sept. 3 told the Advisory Committee on Transportation that the group would not create a detailed night parking permit system. Poarch said that if the committee deems night parking fees a necessary part of a five-year parking plan, members indeed will create detailed night parking plans.
The Daily Tar Heel regrets the error.

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