UWO Go cuts transportation costs by $20,000

Lydia Westedt, News Reporter

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A free transportation system launched on Nov. 1, giving students an easy option for quick and safe nighttime travel.

UWO Go, a service found on the UWO Mobile app, gives free rides to students from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 4 p.m. to Midnight on Sundays and Mondays.

This system is replacing Titan Transit, a busing system that cost about $65,000 per year and averaged about five students per night, according to Oshkosh Student Association Vice President Ian McDonald. UWO Go costs about $20,000 less per year.

Before McDonald and OSA President Jacob Banfield were elected, they ran on a promise of free student transportation. Banfield and McDonald worked closely with the University Police, who now run UWO Go, to bring this service to students.

“I think this app will help prevent assaults and [be] proactive against incidents that can happen when walking on and off campus,” McDonald said. “Hopefully it will keep students from driving in instances where they may be under the influence.”

UWO Chief of Police Kurt Leibold said, “We are giving the students a more preferred way to get to their destinations, and at the same time we are taking them off the street late at night when they are most vulnerable.”

Keeping students’ low budgets in mind, McDonald said he advocated to include Pick ‘n Save in the UWO Go route so students will have access to food free of transportation costs.

“The boundaries for UWO Go are larger than the ones used by Titan Transit,” McDonald said.

McDonald said their first step was to reach out to Uber as a partner.

“Uber declined our partnership, but was that going to stop us? No. We decided we were going to make our own system instead,” McDonald said.

To make plans for UWO Go, the OSA worked with Liebold, Capt. Chris Tarmann, Executive Director for Campus Life Jean Kwaterski and Director of Parking and Transportation Benjamin Richardson.

McDonald said they looked at other campuses, like UW-Milwaukee, to see what transportation systems they were using. UW-M’s TapRide app, a free transportation service for students, was the model for UWO Go.

“We weren’t looking to reinvent the wheel,” McDonald said.

UWO Go is run by the UP and is driven by student Community Service Officers, according to McDonald.

“Over the weekend, I used the app a ton,” McDonald said. “Traveling on and off campus for free is super convenient.”

Leibold said, “Our first weekend we provided 115 rides to our students, so it appears our biggest challenge will be keeping up with the demand.”