August 22, 2008

Free MTA rides now available to grad students

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Free MTA rides now available to grad students

Vanderbilt University has extended its Free Ride program to graduate and professional school students, allowing them to commute to and from campus for free.

The Free Ride to Work program, offered in partnership with Metro's Transit Authority, has been offered to Vanderbilt employees since 2004.

One of the reasons the program is being extended is that Vanderbilt's more than 5,300 graduate and professional school students reside off campus. Most commute back and forth every day.

“This new benefit provides an alternative to the stress of commuting, and helps decrease pollution as well as traffic on Nashville roadways and around our campus,” said Steven Smartt, assistant provost for Graduate Education and Research.

“Graduate students have many financial burdens,” said Jon Ahlbin, president of Vanderbilt's Graduate Student Council. “The ability to ride MTA buses for free should help alleviate one of these burdens.”

To ride free, graduate and professional school students swipe their Vanderbilt ID card as they board an MTA bus going to and from campus, and Vanderbilt will be charged for the ride. Statistical information is then electronically gathered so the University can monitor the program's effectiveness.