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Drivers for the University of Wyoming’s Transit and Parking Services, along with the UW Police Department, made about 230 trips to transport students to and from class during bitterly cold weather last Thursday and Friday.
That number likely would have been higher if not for an accident involving a dump truck and a power pole Friday morning that demanded emergency attention from the UWPD, Chief Mike Samp says.
“We had to turn down a lot of requests on Friday because of the accident and power outage,” Samp says. “But, over the two days, we were able to transport well over half of those who asked for help in getting to and from classes.”
With temperatures lower than minus 25 degrees both mornings, and wind chill factors approaching minus 50, UW, for the first time, offered to transport students to and from class out of concern for their safety. Both the UWPD and Transit and Parking Services increased staffing to provide the courtesy service between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. both days, in addition to regularly scheduled UW bus routes.
“We’re pleased that we were able to help so many students,” says Mark Collins, UW’s associate vice president for operations. “We didn’t know exactly what to expect, as this was the first time we have provided the service. Our dispatchers, supervisors, officers and drivers worked extremely hard and, while we weren’t able to respond to every request, we were able to help many students get to campus who otherwise likely wouldn’t have made it.”
UW officials are reviewing the two-day effort to determine how best to provide such service to students in need in the event of similar extreme weather events.