Lowell Regional Transit Authority bus. Photo: UMass Lowell

Lowell Regional Transit Authority bus. Photo: UMass Lowell

University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell) rolled out a new program that provides free, regional transportation services to students and employees.

The program is being offered in partnership with the Lowell and Merrimack Valley regional transit authorities. Through the partnership, UMass Lowell will pay the fares for students and employees, who can ride for free by simply showing their UMass Lowell ID card when boarding any route in the Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA) system and the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority’s (MVRTA) Haverhill-Lawrence-Lowell route.

With the new program, UMass Lowell is increasing transportation options — which include a network of campus shuttles and a free bicycle-sharing program — for the 20,000 students, faculty and staff and employees that make up the university community. Approximately 100 of them, along with transit authority representatives, attended today’s event. The reduced vehicle trips that result from the program will contribute to the university’s goal of further decreasing its carbon footprint.

Four routes in LRTA's service area have stops at UMass Lowell and all begin and end at the Charles A. Gallagher Transit Terminal in Lowell, where riders can connect to the MBTA commuter rail and MVRTA service.

The MVRTA route connecting Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill that the university’s students and employees can ride for free includes a stop in downtown Haverhill that is just steps from Harbor Place, the site of the new UMass Lowell satellite campus opening this fall. The MVRTA has also added a new stop in Lowell at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center that allows riders to easily transfer to the university’s River Hawk Roadster shuttles, which serve all points of the campus.

The partners in the program will review ridership metrics over the summer to determine whether any refinements to the service should be made. The LRTA RouteShout and UMass Lowell RoadsterRoutes apps for Apple and Android devices offer riders real-time information on arrivals, departures and routes for their respective transportation systems.