How To Save On Fuel And Parking With A Commute

Many alternative transportation options are available

Part of the Sustainable Duke Series
The Bull City Connector is just one way for Duke community members to get around Durham and Duke for free while being sustainable. Photo courtesty of GoTriangle.
The Bull City Connector is just one way for Duke community members to get around Durham and Duke for free while being sustainable. Photo courtesty of GoTriangle.

With Duke parking permit rates set to rise in August, Duke transit officials are encouraging faculty and staff to consider an alternative transportation option to help cut costs associated with driving alone to work.

"There are choices available that save money and give you time to be productive," said Brian Williams, Duke's transportation demand management coordinator. "Duke ridership has increased over the last four years on DATA and Triangle Transit buses, and it makes sense. Why pay $80 a month for gas to drive to work when a GoPass lets you ride for nothing?"

Here are some ways to put more money in your pocket, while cutting your carbon footprint:


Duke community members can try the GoPass, a free public bus pass allows all students and eligible employees to ride regional and local bus lines for no charge.

Orla Swift, director of marketing and communications at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, got a GoPass last fall. She bought an iPad and has used the savings from riding Triangle Transit buses to work to pay off the tablet. On her rides between Raleigh and Durham two-to-four times a week, she uses the iPad to check email and get caught up on reading. "I couldn't have excused buying an iPad were I not going to make the money back from riding the bus," Swift said. "I'd say about 80 percent of my use of the iPad is while I'm riding to and from work."

GoPass offers unlimited rides on DATA, Triangle Transit, Capital Area Transit and C-Tran, the town of Cary's transit service. More information:


In April, League of American Bicyclists named Duke a "Bicycle Friendly University." The recognition reflected enhanced infrastructure on and around campus like "sharrow" bike safety signs painted on campus roadways. Registered bike commuters also receive up to 24 free parking passes and may use showers at Wilson or Brodie recreation centers until 9 a.m. Monday to Friday without a membership. There's even a website - - that features registration steps and tips for being a bike commuter on campus. More information:

CarpoolYanqiang Yang, a senior research associate in the Division of Cardiology, started carpooling with a coworker last spring. By traveling from Chapel Hill to West Campus in a carpool, he saves upwards of $800 a year in gas. "I encourage people to carpool, which can save money on your gas bill, reduce wear on your vehicle, cut emissions for our environment, reduce traffic and save our parking spaces," Yang said.

Registered carpoolers receive reduced permit rates, depending on how many Duke community members ride together. Four or more participants in a carpool get free parking in a "preferred" lot. All carpoolers receive up to 24 daily parking permits to use in case they must drive to campus alone. More information:

Emergency ride in a pinch

Duke employees who work or live in Durham, Orange or Wake counties and use alternative transportation options are eligible for an Emergency Ride Home through Go Triangle. The program provides a voucher for a rental car or taxi ride for carpoolers, bikers, bus riders and walkers who need to leave work at a moment's notice. More information: