UC Riverside’s new Camel and Ostrich Express has begun its task of transporting students across the stretch of parched land between campus and the University Village (UV). The university’s purchase of the fleet of 12 double-humped camels and ostriches was prompted by students’ complaints regarding the inconvenience of walking to the UV. “With the demise of the trolley system we needed an alternative way to transport students to the UV. With these animals we’ll be able to save thousands per year; plus, camels and ostriches are far more environmentally friendly,” stated an official from Transportation and Parking Services (TAPS).
The camels, with a maximum walking speed of approximately three miles per hour, cater to students who prefer to travel at a slow pace. Meanwhile, the ostriches are reserved for students that are running late to class and need a faster travel method. With running speeds of up to 40 miles an hour, the ostriches have quickly proven to be a favorite among university students. “The ride was absolutely exhilarating! We zoomed past all those slow bicycles and scooters; they didn’t stand a chance,” stated a UC Riverside student who rides the ostriches on a daily basis.
University administrators chose the animals due to their compatibility with the Inland Empire’s climate. “With all this Riverside heat I am sure that our camels will feel right at home as if they were in the deserts of Western Asia,” stated one of the camel handlers. With ridership estimated at 300 students per day, the Camel and Ostrich Express will likely expand to meet the rising demand. The success of the new transportation method, however, has come at the cost of an increased amount of ostrich and camel droppings along University Avenue. To combat this growing problem, officials from UC Riverside’s Department of Entomology are currently securing government approval to import dung-feeding beetles.
In order to further promote the use of the camel and ostrich express, university administrators are considering the purchase of novelty clothes items that can be worn during the ride. “I think it’s a great idea. What could be cooler than riding a camel while wearing Indiana Jones gear?” inquired a first-year entomology student. The university is currently accepting suggestions from students; the top three items will be purchased in bulk. “It would be great if they could get Aladdin-inspired clothing,” commented another student.