The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 5th

Committee plans for new P2Ps to roll onto campus

Several of the current P2P buses are due to retire soon.

Than Austin, Transportation and Parking’s associate director for transportation planning and strategy, said the Advisory Committee on Transportation and Parking is trying to find the best deal, which would include the new buses and technology.

“We are talking to a few different vendors to see what kind of systems are available,” he said.

He said they are looking to lease the buses to a vendor who can offer the most features for the least amount of money. The committee hopes to include a camera and GPS tracker on each new bus, an automatic passenger counter and an app with access to real-time location software, similar to NextBus, to streamline the experience of riding the P2P.

Randy Young, spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, said the expenses for the new buses fall into the pre-existing budget for P2P repairs and replacements.

“There’s reflected to be no increase in the student fees,” he said.

Young said in an email that purchasing three buses at $290,000 each would cost $870,000, but leasing three buses would cost an estimated $110,000 a year for five years.

Austin said the committee hopes a new reservation feature will be able to help members of the community who have disabilities or are mobility impaired.

Currently, to be picked up by the P2P, students have to call the P2P dispatch, give their PID, explain where they are and request a pickup time. A P2P app is expected to allow students to only have to enter their information online.

Austin said not everyone will have to reserve a spot on the P2P — this feature is just to help students needing additional assistance get picked up quickly and efficiently.

Young said the buses aren’t being replaced due to any technical or safety issues, but some of them are simply too old.

“The general understanding of use of these is that they last; their efficacy is about 7 to 8 years,” Young said. “That’s essentially what the federal government bureau said.”

He said one P2P bus with 93,000 miles is only used when one of the other buses is in the shop. Some of the other buses have anywhere from 112,000 to 122,000 miles on them.

First-year student Nancy Goodes said she has never been concerned about safety while riding the P2P. She said she hasn’t noticed any obvious signs that the buses are too old.

“I guess when you’re used to riding on school buses in high school, the P2P seems pretty technologically advanced,” Goodes said.

The Advisory Committee on Transportation and Parking is currently looking at the affordability of bus vendors and does not have a planned release date for the buses.


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