I came across the “Overheard on Cambus” blog, where passengers and drivers alike can submit stories “overheard” on the bus. It was started in mid September but already has dozens of posts. After doing a quick search I discovered there’s also an “Overheard on CyRide” blog, which actually appears to have been started a month earlier in August, but so far has not picked up like the Cambus blog has.
Cambus is the university-operated campus shuttle system at the University of Iowa and is nearly entirely student run. CyRide is operated by the City of Ames, but the majority of passengers are Iowa State students. With a large proportion of student drivers, including myself, CyRide combines the fun and easy going culture of a college bus, with the professionalism and customer service of an urban public transit system.
> Overheard on Cambus
> Overheard on CyRide
Two University of Iowa students have started a late night bike-taxi service in downtown Iowa City. “ic Ecocabs” provides service only to the immediate blocks around downtown – avoiding some very steep hills west of the Iowa River. A very cool idea that adds even more diversify of transportation in this eco-minded college town. See photos and more from The Daily Iowan.
> The Daily Iowan: Students create bike-taxi business
> ic Ecocabs
Today thousands of Iowa and Iowa State football fans avoided parking and traffic headaches at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium by riding to the game on the Hawkeye Express. Now in its fifth season, the Hawkeye Express is a passenger rail service between Coralville and Kinnick Stadium operating during Iowa home football games.
Starting in 2004, the University of Iowa first leased the Denver-based Ski Train to run on a 3.3 mile stretch of track owned by Iowa Interstate Railroad. At Kinnick, a stairway down to the track preexisted from when the Rock Island Railroad used to run their own football trains from Des Moines and the Quad Cities.
After two seasons of leasing the Ski Train and a consistent increase in riders, the Athletic Department began leasing a six-car, bilevel commuter train from Iowa Northern Railway Company based out of Waterloo. The former Chicago Metra cars were repainted in Hawkeye colors and adorned with “Hawkeye Express” and the tiger hawk logo at each end.
In 2005, the train averaged 3000 fans per game and up to 4000 for each game in 2007. With the new commuter cars, the Hawkeye Express can now carry up to 6000 per game, which could happen this season with some parking areas near Kinnick being disturbed by the summer flooding.
According to a 2007 article in The Daily Iowa, the Hawkeye Express does not turn a profit, but is getting closer to breaking even. Mark Jennings, an associate athletic director for U of I, said the train was never intended to make money, but help alleviate traffic congestion and enhance the gameday experience for fans.
With growing ridership and their own black and gold rail cars, it looks like the Hawkeye Express is here to stay. This is a great opportunity to garner more public interest and support for passenger rail in Eastern Iowa. I imagine the Hawkeye Express will be used for addition events in the future. It will also be beneficial in promoting support for a proposed rail system between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.
> Iowa Northern Railway : Hawkeye Express
> Cedar-Iowa River Rail Transit Project Feasibility Study (2006)