Student transport to and from community sites is an issue in many experiential learning environments. This section includes information on the preferred hierarchy of transportation options and gives further details on University-owned vehicles and public transportation.


Transportation Hierarchy:

The following transportation hierarchy is intended to allow users to evaluate various options in the context of budget, location, public safety and other factors. The preferred result is to use the highest option practicable considering the various factors and constraints.

  1. Bus or other commercial vehicle with professional driver
  2. Rental car or minivan with a faculty / staff driver
  3. Rental car or minivan van with a student driver- must be approved by GVSU Public Safety.
  4. Faculty / staff personal vehicle with owner as driver.  Owner's personal insurance to respond to claims
  5. Student driving personal vehicle with other students in car.  Owner's personal insurance to respond claims
  6. Student driving other student vehicle or faculty / staff vehicle.  Owner's insurance to respond to claims: NOT RECOMMENDED

12 &15-Passenger Vans

Whenever possible, the use of 12 & 15-passenger vans should be avoided.  Studies by NHTSA and other vehicle safety organizations have found that the design, size, and capacity of such vans are far more dangerous than cars and minivans.  Those needing to use vans of this size must:

  1. have approval from their Unit Head;
  2. notify the Risk Management Office and complete a motor vehicle record check;
  3. arrange rental through the University Motorpool;
  4. and complete an online training course prior to use.

Additional Constraints for Drivers Carrying Passengers on University-Sponsored Trips:

  • Driver
    • All drivers, including undergraduate students, must have a valid drivers license. and have it in his/her possession when driving the vehicle.
    • Drivers of 12 & 15 passenger vans must be approved through the Office of Risk Management as being an eligible driver after a motor vehicle record check is conducted. In addition, each driver must have completed the driver training program.
    • All Van drivers must be at least 21 years of age.
    • Drivers will obey all motor vehicle laws, including posted speed limits.
    • The driver of the vehicle cannot be using a cell phone at anytime.
  • Passengers
    • Every passenger and driver will wear a properly adjusted seat belt any time the vehicle is moving and/or in traffic. This includes passengers who are sleeping.
    • An awake, alert, person must be in the front passenger seat of any van when:
      • Any trip is over two hours.
      • When travel takes place in the dark.
      • On any return trip after competition.
      • When possible, there will be two eligible drivers on any trip over 4 hours.
    • Passengers must be able to exit, and emergency personnel must be able to access, the van quickly in case of emergency.
  • Vehicle/Equipment
    • All equipment must be stored completely under the seats and/or behind the back seat (and may not block the drivers view). There must be nothing under the passengers feet, in front of the doors, or otherwise blocking access to, or exit from the van. If something is belted into a seat, the number of passengers allowed in the van will be reduced by the number of belts or spaces taken up.
    • All vehicles should have a Proof of Insurance Card in the vehicle. However, the driver should double-check before each use.

Public Transportation:

The most frequently used mode of experiential learning transportation is The Rapid bus. The cost associated with use of bus transportation is the responsibility of the student but it is usually free for GVSU students, faculty and staff.

The following steps should be taken when using public transportation:

  1. The route should be planned well in advance
  2. Phone numbers for the community site should be taken with the student
  3. Emergency money should be carried, in case a student should unexpectedly have to take an additional ride, transfer or use a cab.
  4. The number of a taxi-cab company should be taken if the student should get lost or stranded. See student resource section for a listing of numbers.

For information on the Rapid or to plan a trip using public transportation, students should visit the Rapid Web Site: