Students will be able to travel to Ohio’s biggest cities for free with the Undergraduate Student Government’s creation of Buckeye Roadtrip, a busing service which will bring undergraduate students to and from Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo.
“This was a fun project for us,” said USG President Taylor Stepp. “A lot of the things we do in USG are town halls or related to academics, but this was a fun one for everyone.”
Stepp said Buckeye Roadtrip is a free service for students as of right now, and the nearly $4,000 tab for the first set of weekend trips is being paid for by USG.
“We’re really glad to finally officially bring this program,” Stepp said. “There was a lot of work put into it over the summer, but I’m glad to have finally gotten it done and we’re excited about it.”
The first opportunity for students to use Buckeye Roadtrip will be Veterans’ Day weekend, Stepp said. Buses will leave from the south side of the Ohio Union on Nov. 9 at 5 p.m., and buses will leave for OSU on Nov. 12 at 4 p.m.
Stepp said the first booked trip for Veterans’ Day weekend will cost $3,930, which comes from USG’s portion of the student activity fee, funded by a $37.50 per undergraduate student charge each semester.
However, he said the cost is “surprisingly” about $6,000 under-budget.
“On the cost component of this, this is definitely one of those programs where we weigh the risks and benefits of expending some of our dollars on this and say the potential benefit for this far outweighs the amount of money we’re going to be spending on this program,” Stepp said.
Three separate Ohio State charter buses, one for each city, will bring students to the respective cities Friday afternoon and will bring students back on Monday afternoon, Stepp said. He also said each bus will hold 47 people. Between the three trips, 141 people will be able to take advantage of the program.
Stepp said he wants to extend the program in the future.
“Based on the amount of outreach we’ve already had about this idea, and how well-received it’s been, we will definitely continue this project,” Stepp said.
Stepp also said he would like to add more buses or more cities, depending on how things go for the first trips. No future trips are planned yet, but Stepp said he hopes to see them implemented every weekend in the future.
Many students said they thought the trips would be a good thing.
“It’s a really cool idea, especially with the price of gas and of traveling these days to be providing the service for students I think is a good use of our money,” said Melissa Rotblatt, a fourth-year in social work. “I feel like it’s a service that probably a lot of students would utilize, and so I think it’s a really cool idea and hopefully it takes off.”
Others agreed, and said it would save students traveling out of town money.
“Instead of kids having their parents come pick them up or them having to spend gas money to go back, they get to have a free trip there and back, so I think it’s a great resource to have instead of just spending gas money or having your parents pick you up for break,” said Jacob Rothermund, a first-year in biology.
Although Buckeye Roadtrip is a two-way trip for students, it will be a four-way trip for the bus drivers. Stepp said buses will come back to OSU after dropping students off on Friday, and will return to their respective cities to pick them up Sunday.
The time of the trips to each city will be less than three hours, with Cincinnati being the shortest trip at 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Stepp said students can withdraw from the sign-up if something comes up, and there will be a waiting list if the spots fill up quickly. USG will also be conducting a survey afterword to make sure the ride was pleasant.
Students can fill out the form for Buckeye Roadtrip at buckeyeroadtrip.osu.edu and on USG’s website.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction
Correction: Oct. 11, 2012
An earlier version of this story did not fully identify USG President Taylor Stepp.