The wheels on the Vaquero Express buses will go ’round and ’round all across the Rio Grande Valley starting Monday, Aug. 31, when The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley opens its doors to its #FirstClass of students.
More than 28,000 students and about 2,700 faculty and staff will have several transportation options this inaugural year, including UTRGV’s Vaquero Express Campus Shuttle Service, and the Campus Connector system.
Rodney Gomez, UTRGV director of parking and transportation, said transportation options for the new university community increase the transit network and provide route options throughout the Valley, from South Padre Island to Sullivan City to the west.
“Our goal is to give the university community more choices and more opportunities to travel within and between campuses without the need for a car,” he said. “We hope to continue adding incremental improvements throughout the year, and major improvements in the future.”
Last fiscal year, the on-campus shuttle system had more than 100,000 riders in Edinburg alone, Gomez said, and more than 50,000 used public transportation in Brownsville and Edinburg combined. Gomez expects both numbers to increase this year.
Vaquero Express Campus Shuttle
This shuttle is a free, intra-campus transit on both the Brownsville and Edinburg campuses. It will carry students to designated spots within each campus, but will not travel between the two campuses.
- In Brownsville, the intra-campus shuttle service will run Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., every 15 minutes.
- On the Edinburg Campus, the shuttle will be available Monday-Friday, 7:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., every 10 to 15 minutes.
- In addition, the Edinburg Campus Shuttle will provide rides to the UTRGV McAllen Teaching Site and the Visual Arts Building in Edinburg.
Campus Connector System
For students, faculty and staff who need to travel from one campus to the other for classes or university business, the Campus Connector system offers several public transportation services – Valley Metro, Brownsville Metro and Metro Connect – between both campuses.
- Valley Metro, with services to both campuses and cities in between, and B Metro, Brownsville service only, will offer free rides on all transit routes with a validated UTRGV ID card.
- Metro Connect will charge a $5 daily rate, or $25 for a 30-day pass. Bus passes can be purchased at Brownsville and McAllen bus terminals and at the UTRGV Parking offices in Brownsville (Main Building) and Edinburg (ASFC Building).
“Public transit is an invaluable partner for UTRGV. It is an affordable, convenient alternative for students, faculty and staff,” Gomez said. “We are proud of the relationships we’ve developed with our local providers and will continue to strengthen these partnerships for the benefit of our university community.”
For Vaqueros who need to stay connected and work while on the go, Gomez said, seven Vaquero Express shuttle buses are equipped with free Wi-Fi, and he hopes to have additional buses furnished with Wi-Fi by mid-September.
In addition, a real-time bus-tracking app will be available later this fall for Android phones and iPhones.
Gomez realizes that not every shuttle or bus schedule may meet the needs of every UTRGV student or employee, so he encourages everyone to plan ahead and look at all available options for travel.
“If our on-campus network doesn’t serve a particular need, maybe a public transportation provider has a route that does,” he said. “Unlike personal vehicles, shared transportation services are designed to serve as many people as possible. Not every schedule can meet every need, but with a little planning the available options expand.”
To learn more about the UTRGV transportation options, routes or schedules, contact Gomez at firstname.lastname@example.org or (956) 665-2224.