By Natalia Asis- Staff Writer
UMF is offering a regular shuttle service to help students head to different places, such as Walmart and Augusta. The service is coordinated by the Department of Public Safety and was started to “meet the needs of transportation in the area,” said their Administrative Assistant Kimberly Ladd.
“A brand new van was acquired through a special shuttle fund,” said Ladd, to drive students every Tuesday and Wednesday to shop at Walmart and Hannaford from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Another shuttle takes students to and from Augusta’s bus station before and after long weekends, breaks and holidays.
Even though both shuttles started running sporadically last April on a trial basis, Ladd said, “it’s been a pretty good turnout” since “this year we’ve had between 20 and 30 students riding on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.” Ladd pointed out that this service is especially helpful because “every year we have less students that bring their cars.”
The service to Augusta is provided by UMF to connect Farmington with different means of public transportation. Students can catch a Concord Coach bus from Augusta to go to Portland, Boston or other cities. Upon request, students can be dropped off at Augusta’s airport or other stations. Sophomore Abigail Smith thinks it is a good idea because she knows a lot of people who would use it.
However, many others believe the shuttle doesn’t fit their schedule. Valentine Desplat, an exchange student from France, said, “I think it’s a good idea but the schedule is not useful because when you arrive to Augusta and then you take a bus to Portland, it is very late. There aren’t many late flights in Portland which means I have to sleep there and leave the following morning.”
Ladd expressed that students can catch the last bus out of Augusta if they leave at 3 p.m. “We don’t want people skipping on their classes to catch the bus,” said Ladd and, if they leave at that time, it won’t interfere with classes.
Desplat had nothing but positive things to say about her shopping trips. “It’s really efficient and comfortable. When I went shopping in Hannaford and then in Walmart I could leave my stuff in the car and I didn’t have to take it with me.”
Auria Mauras, another French exchange student, said, “Since we are international students, we don’t have cars and it’s hard to move around.” Mauras confessed being pleasantly surprised by UMF and its interest in providing transportation for those who need it. “Before I arrived in Farmington I thought I was going to be stuck here but it turns out that I am not,” she said.
Many students still ask friends and family to drive them to get their groceries. Elizabeth Dunn, a sophomore at UMF said, “I have four roommates and they all have cars, so I usually go with them. It’s annoying to ask for a ride and if I was alone, I’d be in trouble.” Smith usually goes shopping when her parents visit her from Yarmouth. However, she used the shuttle during orientation week because she saw a poster outside the Student Center where the van leaves from.
Schedule brochures for both shuttles are available at the Public Safety Office. There is a $20 refundable deposit fee to reserve a seat to travel to and from Augusta. You can contact Kimberly Ladd at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Photo caption: Noémie Huchon and Auria Maurias wait for the shuttle to go to Walmart in front of the Student Center.
Photo by: Natalia Asis