Some Employees Opt for Alternate Transportation
Whether it is rising gas prices, concern for the environment, personal health/fitness, simple pleasure or a combination of the above, a number of NMU employees have made a conscious decision not to drive personal vehicles to campus. They rely on other modes of transportation to get to work and, in some cases, around town.
Here are just a few employees who have found feasible alternatives in biking, walking or riding free on Marq-Tran buses.
Don Faust (Mathematics and Computer Science, right) had grown accustomed to riding a bike when he lived in Hawaii and he checked it with the airline for the flight that brought him to Marquette. He has since been through a few models and adapted to pedaling in a colder climate. The afternoon we met at the bike rack on the academic mall, he was dressed in warm and wind-resistant layers for a trip from campus to the western Marquette Township business district.
“Biking integrates nice activity into my daily lifestyle and I do it because I genuinely love it—not because I have to or in response to gas prices,” said Faust. “When living in Malaysia and Indonesia, as I often do, I also bike and walk. I love simplicity. Part of the pleasure of a bike ride or walk to work is that it gives me more time for, and a better focus on, the work I love: planning my teaching and doing applied mathematics/research. There are several people on campus who integrate biking and walking. It’s nice to see.”
For most of his 33 years at NMU, Phil Watts (HPER) has regularly walked and occasionally bikes about two miles each way from his home to the PEIF. Watt agrees the commute provides “quality thought time” and says colleague Randall Jensen also walks most days.
“A few years back, Randy and I were on campus late with an evening class and there was a wild snow- and high-wind storm raging when we headed home,” Watts said. “We scavenged our PEIF lockers for extra clothes and headed out. The wind was breaking trees so we walked up the middle of Third Street. It was the safest place.
“Snow is not usually a problem except when sidewalks are not cleared or they are icy. Rain is not so much fun, but a good raincoat helps. My wife and I decided to commit to a single vehicle, partially for environmental reasons and partially for simplicity. She got the car. I got a bike and a good pair of shoes.”
Biking or walking is not feasible for Judy Marra (Conference and Catering Services) because she resides in Ishpeming Township. But for the past two years, she has boarded a Marq-Tran bus at 6:30 a.m. most workdays at the Ishpeming Senior Center and arrives at her University Center office by 7. In addition to the Wildcat Shuttle that regularly circles campus, NMU students and employees ride free on fixed routes in Marquette County by showing their NMU IDs.
“The money I’m saving on gas is just phenomenal and I like saving a parking place on campus for others who really need it,” said Marra. “The bus drivers are fantastic. They’re friendly and they watch out for you. If I’m not riding for some reason I have to tell them so they won’t be looking for me. I see a lot of Northern students regularly and a few employees here and there. It’s nice to relax and talk to people on the bus. It gets me in earlier than I need to be, but I get more work done. It’s a wonderful opportunity and I know the students we talk to in the morning are very appreciative. I thank Public Safety for going after the grant to make it possible.
Fellow passenger Luanne Crupi (Admissions) agrees: “I didn’t know NMU employees could ride Marq-Tran for free until recently; I knew about students. I have been taking the bus from Negaunee Township for about a month and I’m surprised there are not more NMU people who take advantage of it, especially with the price of gas. It’s a great service and you can’t beat the cost.”
For more information, visit Marq-Tran. Some online schedules may not be updated, so it is best to call 225-1112 to verify departures before riding for the first time.