With the return of students to campus this fall, Point-to-Point (P2P) Express has made several enhancements, including updated routes and new Express service vehicles, as the program celebrates its 25th year in operation.
UNC Transportation and Parking augmented its existing fleet with two new 25-passenger shuttle buses and three 40-passenger biodiesel buses. The new fuel-efficient vehicles hitting the roads in late August support the UNC’s Three Zeros Environmental Initiative goal of greenhouse gas neutrality.
“The buses and vans that have been offering service to UNC have certainly served the University community well,” said UNC Transportation and Parking associate director Than Austin. “However, the oldest vehicles had been in operation for as many as 19 years, logging a lot of miles. These new vehicles will be more efficient and provide a much better rider experience.”
To serve the ever-changing campus landscape and evolving ridership demands, a new route will improve service to western and southern areas of campus, including Baity Hill student-family housing on Mason Farm Road. The P2P Express will also resume service to the Granville Towers area adjacent to the new the Carolina Square complex. The traditional Express route and the new fixed route will run on the traditional P2P schedule, beginning at 7 p.m. and running through 4 a.m. nightly during fall and spring academic semesters.
Other P2P services, such as the RR Lot, Library, and Law School Shuttles, as well as the semester break Airport Shuttles and on-demand services like after-dark and Student Health shuttles will continue without changes to service.
These latest enhancements coincide with the 25th anniversary of P2P’s arrival at UNC-Chapel Hill. With a small fleet of vans in 1992, P2P launched its service to riders initially through demand-response services. The P2P Express fixed route was introduced the following August in response to student government recommendations.
“It’s still as popular and as important to the University as ever,” said P2P manager Lee McRae, who has been with Transportation & Parking since P2P’s inception. “On a busy night, we often transport well over a thousand riders, and we’re serving nearly 200,000 riders a year.”
Transportation & Parking director Cheryl Stout said that the service and fleet improvements are the fruition of collaborative efforts by members of the P2P Work Group, a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Transportation and Parking (ACT), which has representation from throughout the Carolina community. Stout said the group has worked to create such positive changes as increased operational hours, the addition of summer school fixed-route service, and technological advances like availability of TransLoc® real-time vehicle positioning and onboard video cameras.
Stout added that the P2P system has truly become part of the fabric of the University over the past 25 years.
“Most cannot remember UNC when the Point-to-Point system was not serving transportation needs of the community,” Stout said. “It has maintained universal support of the Carolina students and administration, but we’ve also worked hard to stay abreast of new technologies and to keep the services current and fare-free.”