August 31, 2009

W. Va. University PRT system back in service


Photo courtesy West Virginia University


The West Virginia University Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system is back on the tracks and running smoothly today after a three month-long diagnostic and system repair.

In honor of the reopening of the PRT, the university hosted an open house event on Wednesday, August 19. To encourage more use by the public, no fare was charged during the day-long event. The normal public PRT fare is $.50 per ride. Personnel were on hand at each PRT station to answer questions and give information on the transportation system.

The PRT is one of the most unique forms of transportation in the world. Introduced at WVU in 1975, the PRT was the first fully-automated rapid transit system in the world, according to university officials.

An assessment conducted last year helped the staff identify critical areas in need of repair and replacement, and the extensive summer repairs were the first the PRT has undergone since it opened.

Improvements include a new public address system and boarding display signs at all stations, replacement of high voltage cables, reroofing, bridge repair, and painting.

New variable display signs were also added to each station. Other new additions include closed circuit televisions installed on all platforms.

Along with the improved PRT system, many new programs are being introduced in the 2009-10 school year as part of WVU’s WE Go campaign. WE Car, a car sharing program, launched August 5 in front of the Mountainlair.

Carpool matching software is available to use online and includes benefits such as free one-day parking permits, reduced parking costs, preferred parking locations on campus, and a guaranteed ride home for emergencies.

Students, faculty, and staff can go to the WVU Transportation and Parking Website at http://transportation.wvu.edu and register to use these two programs.

Another new program for University employees is the occasional parking program, which provides employees who forfeit their long-term parking permits with 18 free one-day passes per year to use on days when vehicle transportation is necessary.

“With these new programs and the PRT and Mountain Line services, we hope to see a decrease in parking demand and less congestion in and around the Morgantown area,” Kierig said.

For more information on the PRT open house and other forms of University transportation, visit http://transporation.wvu.edu or call the office at (304) 293-5502.

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