‘Wildly successful’ Buckeye Roadtrip to offer more trips
Published: Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 22:11
The Buckeye Roadtrip program has been deemed “wildly successful” by Undergraduate Student Government president Taylor Stepp.
The program, launched this semester, aims to give students an easy, inexpensive way to travel to some of the state’s biggest cities.
For the first set of trips over Veterans Day weekend, three Ohio State-owned charter buses took students to Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo. Stepp said 133 students went on the trips to the cities, but there were many more on the wait list.
Buckeye Roadtrip is beyond the “pilot stage” and has full commitment from USG to expand the program. The next set of trips will be over Thanksgiving weekend.
“You need to have a time period where you can effectively test so many different variables, and we thought we would be cheating the growth of the program if we did not make it free first, to see what the marketability of it was,” Stepp said. “The first trip showed us that obviously it’s extremely successful.”
Changes made to the second trip include the addition of another bus to Cleveland, with buses now going to both the East and West side of the city. The Cleveland buses will hold 56 passengers each, and the Toledo and Cincinnati buses will each hold 47 passengers. All buses will have a Wi-Fi connection available.
Stepp said the cost for the Thanksgiving trip, which will come from the USG’s portion of the student activity fee, will be $4,495. The cost is about $500 more than the first trip due to the addition of a second bus to Cleveland.
Buses will leave for the Thanksgiving weekend trip Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. and depart for OSU Nov. 25 at 4 p.m. As of Wednesday morning, Stepp said there were 122 people signed up for the trip.
Despite the popularity of the program so far, there were concerns about when students should be brought back to OSU.
“We weren’t sure if we should do it on Friday or Saturday because of the Michigan game, but I just made the call that we should probably do it on Sunday because that would just be easiest and more in line with the long-term goals of the program,” Stepp said.
Plans for expanding Buckeye Roadtrip have been discussed as well. Stepp said USG is looking at some “crazy possibilities” such as bringing students to attractions and different cities, even out of state.
Some students who went on the first trip were satisfied with how things went. Breana Higgins, a second-year in international studies, took the USG-sponsored bus trip to Toledo over Veterans Day weekend and was excited to visit her family.
“I thought it was really cool because I don’t normally get to go home, so I thought it was a really great opportunity for me,” Higgins said. “It was a really nice bus ride too.”
Higgins plans to take the bus home again for Thanksgiving weekend.
Other students said they enjoyed the convenience of the Buckeye Roadtrip program as well.
“It’s really convenient just because it’s free and easy,” said Melissa Brooks, a second-year in industrial and systems engineering. “All you have to do is go online and sign up, and you can take as much stuff as you would normally (to) go home. I think it’s nice the fact that it’s free and it’s a lot easier for my parents.”
Brooks also said she would use Buckeye Roadtrip for future trips home, even if there was a cost associated.
“I probably would just because I think it would be a little bit cheaper than having my parents drive back and forth, and it’s also more convenient,” Brooks said. “I probably wouldn’t use it as much, but just for the occasional trip home.”
Although the program is still in its early stages, Stepp said he is excited for what the future may hold.
“This could be a monumental project that sets Ohio State apart from many institutions,” Stepp said. “We’re (USG) very close with a lot of our other Big Ten colleagues, and they’re marveled that we can do something like this.”