Duke Offers Free Pass To Ride Public Transit

Students, eligible employees to receive "GoPass" to help relieve campus parking congestion

Kristina Troost boards a Triangle Transit bus on Chapel Drive for her afternoon commute back to Raleigh.
Kristina Troost boards a Triangle Transit bus on Chapel Drive for her afternoon commute back to Raleigh.

At 5:02 p.m., Kristina Troost boarded a Triangle Transit bus on Chapel Drive, opened her laptop and settled in for her favorite 52 minutes of the day.

While the bus driver navigated traffic on I-40 toward Raleigh, Troost read email and scholarly journals and selected books for the Japanese Studies collection at Perkins Library.

"It's my time," said Troost, head of Duke University Libraries' International and Area Studies department. "Having this undisturbed time every day means I can catch up on projects and get my life back."

Troost pays $33.25 a month to ride a Triangle Transit Express bus between a Park and Ride lot in Raleigh and Duke's campus each day. Now she'll be able to make that round trip for free. 

Duke is offering GoPass, a local and regional bus pass, to Duke staff and faculty whose offices are on East, West, Central and Medical Center campuses; the American Tobacco Campus; or within one-half mile of the East, West, Central or Medical campuses (see eligibility map). All undergraduate, graduate and professional school students are eligible.  

GoPass allows for unlimited rides on DATA, Triangle Transit, Capital Area Transit and C-Tran, the town of Cary's transit service, at no charge. 

"I'm thrilled that now I can say that Duke is encouraging public transport in this way," said Troost, who plans to use GoPass to commute by bus four to five days per week.

Duke partnered with Triangle Transit to provide GoPass.

David King, Triangle Transit general manager, said Duke's investment in GoPass is consistent with the university's environmentally conscious efforts to encourage energy conservation. "We're proud to be Duke's partner as it builds upon its reputation as a `green' employer," he said.

Brian Williams, Duke's transportation demand management coordinator, said GoPass can help reduce parking congestion on Duke's main campuses. 

If 5 percent of eligible students and employees use GoPass as a daily alternative to a single occupancy vehicle, there could be 1,000 to 2,000 fewer cars on campus each day, Williams said. This change could reduce Duke's carbon footprint and help alleviate the need to build additional parking lots.  

"We want to offer students and employees as many options as possible to help them save money and get to Duke in a more sustainable manner than driving alone in a car," Williams said. "We're committed to helping Duke become climate neutral, and this program is just one more step toward that goal."