Hammond updates students regarding buses to Walmart


SGA President David Hammond updates the student body regarding transportation to Walmart.

Mason T. Smith, Sports and Intramurals Editor

During the fall semester, Sudent Body President David Hammond announced that the Student Government Association was planning to provide transportation for students who desired to travel to Warmart or various shopping centers within the city.
According to Hammond, the university will utilize the newly leased buses that arrived on campus during the month of February to transport students.”
Other universities have already established transit systems for its students including Auburn University Montgomery, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, University of Georgia, and the University of Colorado to transport its students. Many of these transit systems were made possible by a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation to utilize electric buses.
“A lot of student leaders have tried to do it,” said Hammond. “It started with presidential candidate Lashawn Jackson, who tried to incorporate it a few years ago, and now we’ve gotten closer to making it happen.”
No plans regarding the schedule have been released, but Hammond has expressed he wants to have multiple stops on the bus route.
“I don’t want the transportation used for only Walmart; I wanted to include the malls in the area, such as Eastdale Mall, or the Shoppes at Eastchase,” Hammond said.
According to Hammond, students will not be charged a fee for the transit system.
While Hammond can say for sure that the money will not be taken from the SGA’s budget, he is not sure how the university will pay for the transportation.
“It’s free for our students,” he said.
Having buses on campus also creates opportunities for faculty and students to use field assets in their research and studies.
In terms of the start date for student transportation, Hammond stated there is a scheduled meeting with his publicity team the last full week in March, specifically around the 24th, in which he feels he will be able to give a more thorough update at that time.
The Hornet Tribune staff reviewed some previous articles and found that the SGA put this transportation plan in action during the 2008-09 academic year.
Buses were used every other Saturday to take students to Walmart. The bus would park for two hours and students would have two hours to shop. The practice was abandoned during the 2009-10 academic year.
The University of Georgia was awarded $10 million from the state of Georgia in 2016 to purchase 19 electric buses. UGA provided $5 million in matching funds.
The 40-foot electric buses emit no pollution, are quieter and have lower operating costs than existing diesel powered buses. The buses arrived on campus in 2018 and are part of the university’s strategic plan to advance campus sustainability.
AAMU’s Bulldog Transit System (BTS) has been awarded over $2.2 million to buy additional zero-emission electric buses that will ultimately allow the school to replace diesel buses that have reached the end of their usefulness.
BTS and Proterra formed a strong partnership to deliver clean, quiet transportation to AAMU and the surrounding community. Proterra is a leading innovator in the manufacture of heavy-duty electric transportation and designs, engineers and manufactures its battery systems and buses in America.
In November 2019, AAMU introduced two state-of-the-art Proterra electric buses to the campus and the state. The buses marked the first electric buses on the road in Alabama, as well as the first electric bus fleet on a predominantly Black college campus.
Duke University purchased two new fully-electric buses that are expected to begin operating on campus the first week of April.
Each 40-foot Proterra ZX5 bus carries up to 40 seated passengers and operates for about 200 miles on a single charge. The battery-electric buses release zero tailpipe emissions, require no oil changes and use no liquid fuels.