The school plans to ditch the classic transportation system as soon as April 1.
Azusa Pacific University has made the decision to replace the school’s iconic trolley system in an effort to combat climate change concerns. Students will now be transported between the two campuses via an alternative, climate-friendly method; horse and buggy.
The decision came after much consideration involving the school’s impact on the environment. APU transportation officials estimated the school’s three trolleys are responsible for more than 42% of the carbon dioxide emissions produced in southern California.
Recent inflation regarding the price of gasoline has also fueled the decision to transition to a cleaner form of transportation. Members of the university’s finance committee revealed that the school spends $2 billion dollars annually in maintenance, fuel and other transportation costs to fund the trolleys.
“When APU was founded in 1899, horse drawn carriages were the primary method of transportation for faculty and students,” said President Morris. “We figured it’s only natural for the APU community to return to their roots 124 years later.”
In order to keep current staffing, trolley drivers received specific horse and buggy training over spring break with lessons led by former Kentucky Derby horse jockeys. The lessons took place under the cover of night at Citrus College’s track and field facility to avoid press photography of the new system.
Many students are outraged by the decision to get rid of the school’s iconic trolley system and have concerns about capacity and buggy speeds to get between campuses. However, the school has assured students that the new system is still slightly faster than walking between campuses. The buggies are expected to hold around six students at a time; however, helmets will be mandatory.
Given the reduced capacity of the buggies, university officials will team up with ride-sharing companies like Uber to develop a paid reservation system where students can ensure a spot in line. Fortunately, the new ride-sharing system will accept both Cougar Bucks and flex dollars.
To ease concerns about buggy speeds, APU purchased horses that are rumored to be distant offspring of the triple crown-winning racing horse, Secretariat. Given their great heritage, state-of-the-art stables will be built where the current trolley garage resides.
The APU campus store also has plans to take advantage of the transition. Currently, the store sells a number of trolley-themed items like stickers, key chains and plush toys. When the horse and buggy system is implemented on April 1, the store plans to offer horse and buggy-themed hoodies and t-shirts.
The on-campus convenience store, “Paws ‘n Go” also plans to capitalize on the change. They will now carry sugar cubes, carrots and other horse-themed treats that students can give to APU’s newest employees.
The university has not officially released the names of the horses; however, students have been submitting suggestions. Among the suggestions are “BoJack,” “Lil Sebastian,” “Foal’in Around,” “Sym-pony” and “The Denver Bronco.”
As of now, the school has plans to find a new use for the current trolleys. One idea is to have the trolleys converted into unique housing options for students and added to the Shire Mods. Room and board for these new options will cost half of the current rate, given that the units are not expected to have bathrooms or running water.
The official announcement from the president’s office is expected later this week. Leaked documents obtained by ZU News revealed that the president dubbed the decision the “April Fools Act.” The report also states that before landing on horse and buggy, the school also considered unicycle, segway and even jetpack systems.