By: Tyrrell Meertins
With nearly 80,000 students travelling to Humber College on a daily basis, the post-secondary institute has decided to introduce an efficient method of transportation.
Smart Commute is a Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area based organization that provides environmental friendly alternatives such as carpooling, transit, walking and cycling. The decade-old regional commuting program currently services universities, colleges, institutions and private companies. To date, Smart Commute represents 300 work places and 684,000 users.
Humber College launched the program at its North and Lakeshore campus this week, as there’s been a vast interest in identifying an efficient, yet affordable way to school – that would be carpooling.
In order to access the program, users are required to access and register to Smart Commute Carpool Zone, a free service that matches students with two or three carpool buddies around their area. According to the official Smart Commute website, Carpool Zone users have saved over $10 million and prevented 24,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent of about nine million bricks.
Glenn Gumulka, Executive Director of the Smart Commute Pearson Airport Area office, believes that the program will exhibit various positive components in the Humber community.
“The straightforward goal is to get fewer people driving their cars by themselves… when we reduce those, we reduce gridlock on the roads – because there is fewer vehicles on the road – and we improve air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and particular matter in the air,” Gumulka said.
While the program will save the individual user hundreds of dollars per month, it also enables the commuter to explore proactive healthy-living options.
“For a lot of people, walking and cycling is actually a very reasonable option, but a lot of those people are driving right now,” he said.
Although the lack of users in certain areas can lead to a scarce amount of potential carpoolers, Smart Commute is working with the Humber Student Federation to spread the word through social media.
Lindsay Walker, Humber Sustainability Manager, feels that students and faculty will appreciate Smart Commute’s transportation alternatives.
“The main goal is to provide another service that we think students will want, so we’re doing it for students, and it’s the first of many,” Walker said.
Walker, who sponsored and organized the program, decided that it was time to take initiative and help push a program that would support students.
“It’s a program that I’ve seen at other schools, that’s helped students and faculty get to school easier,” she said. “Whatever we can do to help students find alternative ways to get to campus and save money is a good thing to do.”
The Smart Commute program will run throughout the Winter semester.