Quinnipiac students can now earn rewards and discounts for local restaurants and businesses simply by riding the shuttles.
CT Rides, a program sponsored by CT Department of Transportation, has partnered with campus public relations firm QuinniPR and the QU Sustainability Committee to encourage students to use alternate forms of transportation.
CT Rides reaches out to community colleges, universities and businesses in Connecticut to educate them on alternative transportation, according to CT Rides Outreach Coordinator Pamela Hypolite.
“We find that there are individuals who weren’t even aware of a bus that could take them right to their home, especially those who live in suburban areas,” Hypolite said. “We try to dispel a lot of the myths about public transportation.”
QuinniPR Co-Presidents Caitlin Enright and Jenel Conde have been working on the project since last March. Enright connected with a CT Rides representative at a PRSSA networking event and found that CT Rides had an interest in bringing the program and rewards system to Quinnipiac.
“I think college students are really looking to save money,” Conde said. “So the most important thing we discussed was to get businesses involved that students frequent, including Aunt Chilada’s, Splash Car Washes, Ashley’s Ice Cream and places like that. We’re also working on getting Tonino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Domino’s and The Corner Deli involved.”
The options for reward discounts also include larger businesses, such as Stop and Shop and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The coupons can be downloaded from the website or mailed to students.
The rewards system is accessible through Quick Links on MyQ. Students can click the “CT Rides/Nurides Shuttle Points” link, register on the website and then record their trips under the “My Trips” tab.
“Regardless of the distance you get 100 points each way, even if you just take the shuttle from York Hill to Mount Carmel Campus,” Enright said. “Theoretically, if you take the shuttle every day, you would get 1,000 points in one week. The reward that costs the most points that I saw was 2,900, but that was two free passes to Mystic Aquarium. It’s definitely worth it.”
Students can record their trips each time they log in to the website, or set a repeating schedule that automatically logs their times.
“I think it’s a great idea,” junior Katryn Flynn said. “I think it’s a good incentive for the student body to go green and carpool instead of driving their own cars to campus.”
Students also feel that the rewards system will save them money on gas.
“We pay the university quite a bit of money to provide us with a shuttle system,” senior Brandon Schindler said. “It’s great to get some rewards from it, as well as saving gas for commuters and those who take the shuttles.”
Not only does using the system earn reward points and discounts, but it also will help the environment, according to the Quinnipiac Sustainability Committee.
“CT Rides fits in perfectly with the committee’s mission because we devote a lot of time to recycling and other environmental concerns,” said Biomedical Sciences Professor Kristen Wolfe, who is a member of the QU Sustainability Committee. “We eventually want to connect with commuters and develop a system for them to carpool with other commuters and receive points.
In consistency with the QU Sustainability Committee’s mission, Hypolite said that students can also track their environmental impact through the website, including anything from how much they save on gas by leaving the car off to how much less carbon they’re emitting into the air.
“I think it’s a great addition to our campus,” Conde said. “We’re not asking students to change their behavior, and the sign up takes about two minutes. Students coming from York Hill especially take the shuttle on a daily basis. You’re already helping the environment if you take the shuttle, so why not get rewarded for it?”