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BYU to start charging for parking passes, offering free shuttle

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PROVO, Utah -- Brigham Young University is trying to reduce traffic and parking congestion by offering a free shuttle to and from campus, but it's those who will continue to drive who will end up paying for it.

"We absolutely hope it will reduce the need for cars on campus and here in Utah Valley," said BYU Spokesperson Carrie Jenkins.

Starting in the fall semester, the BYU campus shuttle will be free to everyone with a university ID. It currently costs students $99 each semester.

BYU issues an average of 13,000 free parking permits per semester. However, in order to compensate for the free shuttle, BYU will be charging $60 a semester for those permits.

"Paying an extra $60 a semester is not ideal," said student Brooke Bytheway. "It's a bummer, it makes me mad, I'm sure it will make a lot of other people mad."

Bytheway said she needs her car, as she spends a lot of late nights practicing her singing and the shuttle stops running at 9 p.m.

"You can come and go in a car, you don't have to wait if the bus is full, you don't have to go during their scheduled times, if you miss it, I mean you can't miss your car," Bytheway said.

Student Body Vice-President Rachel Densley said she believes the free shuttle will entice people to ditch their cars and climb aboard.

"Students had complaints about transportation and parking and congestion for years," Densley said. "You take a risk at getting to a parking lot and it being full and you can't find a spot and you drive around for five minutes, ten minutes and you eventually have to go home because there isn't a spot."

The shuttle will also provide five additional routes throughout the city of Provo.

"This actually goes off campus to the different apartment complexes and brings them onto campus," Jenkins said.

For those students who want to keep driving and refuse to pay, the university will be setting aside three lots on the outskirts of the campus that will be free.