First years hoping to venture farther off campus than the opposite end of Maine St. will need to do a bit of transportation homework before they hit the road.

This fall marks the implementation of a new policy prohibiting first years from bringing personal vehicles to campus. The rule aims to alleviate car congestion on campus, to make the College more sustainable, and to foster a sense of community among first years.

"The plan was initiated and motivated by me," said President of the College Barry Mills. "First, there were the issues of sustainability. Second, there were the issues of sense of community among students, and the sense that we have all kinds of students coming to Bowdoin today, from all kinds of different economic backgrounds."

Opinions about the policy vary widely among first years.

"I think people rely on their cars too much," said Samantha Burns '13. Even without a car, "I've gone off campus a lot."

First year Mike Guerrette heard about the new policy while on a tour last year, and found it to be a reasonable change.

"I think it's good since we're trying to be green," he said.

When asked if he planned on joining Zipcar or the Yellow Bike Club (YBC), Guerrette said that he didn't feel the need to join either at this point. For a recent weekend trip to Freeport, he and his friends used a taxi service.

"It was cool without a car," he said.

Oliver Van Zant '13 feels differently.

"I was bummed when I heard about the policy," he said, adding that next year, he will "undoubtedly" bring a car.

"The other day my roommates and I had to stock up on drinks, and we had to carry cases of water and Gatorade back from the store," he said. "It's an inconvenience."

First year Amilia Campbell agreed.

"I can understand why [the policy] was implemented, but I think it's hard for someone who lives so close to Bowdoin to not bring their car," she said.

Campell, who is from North Haven, Maine, found out about the policy change when she visited campus in the spring for Accepted Student's Day.

"I was a little upset," she said. "I was planning on bringing my car this year."

One first year did not let the new policy stop him from bringing his car to campus.

The student's family ran an ad in the classified section of the Brunswick Times Record on August 18, 19 and 20: "Wanted: Parking space for the upcoming Bowdoin school year. Must be within walking distance from Bowdoin campus. Vehicle is a 2007 Toyota Highlander. Willing to pay $1,000 for the school year."

The student's father confirmed that they found a suitable spot near campus, and are paying the advertised price for the parking space.

The family did not make an appeal to the policy, though Associate Dean of Student Affairs Mary Pat McMahon said that five such appeals were made. The College granted only one request.

Any first-year students caught violating the policy will be penalized, said Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols.

"Probably initially you would get a ticket, but likely [be] towed early, early on," Nichols said of the consequences for first years who bring cars to campus. "Chances of it being towed could be almost immediate."

Programs like the Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) Shuttle, Zipcar and the Yellow Bike Club expect more popularity in light of the ban on first-year cars.

At this time last year, the total number of Bowdoin community members signed up with the service was 120. As of September 9, 254 Bowdoin students, staff, and faculty members have subscribed to Zipcar through the College. In the last 30 days, the Bowdoin Zipcar office has received 44 new applications for membership.

Special Assistant to the Dean of Student Affairs Meadow Davis said she thinks that the majority of the new members are first-year students, though she was unable to verify her hunch due to the method in which the College keeps record of membership.

The Zipcar fleet expanded from two to three vehicles over the summer. A pickup truck joined the hybrid sedan and the compact SUV in the Russworm parking lot both in response to a popular demand voiced at the end of the 2008-2009 school year as well as in preparation for the car-less Class of 2013,

"People with those three cars can do anything they need to," Davis said.

The Yellow Bike Club is a student-run organization that maintains a fleet of 40 bicycles for use by students. For $15 a year, students may use any of the bikes, which are kept around campus with the same combination for their locks.

According to junior Jon Viera, president of the YBC, first years make up 40 to 45 of the club's 60 members.

With the first-year class not allowed to bring cars to campus, Viera said, "We definitely knew we'd have an increase in interest."

Last spring, the YBC maintained 18 bikes for its fleet. The club purchased 22 new bikes through Center St. Cycles, a local Brunswick business, to meet the anticipated increase in membership.

In addition to the expansion of Zipcar and YBC programs, the BSG shuttle will be increasing its operations when it begins running shuttles next Friday. The shuttle will make four, instead of two, roundtrips between Bowdoin and Portland on Fridays, and maintain all other regular trips to Cook's Corner and Freeport.

Mills mentioned that some peer NESCAC schools located in more remote areas than Brunswick do not allow students to bring cars during their first year. Williams College and Amherst College both prohibit first-year students from having cars on campus, though Wesleyan, Colby, and Bates allow students to have cars for all four years.

Ultimately, Mills and the College decided that whatever advantage the old policy gave Bowdoin in attracting students that might choose a school for its car policy wasn't significant enough to outweigh the College's commitment to sustainability and fostering community.

"I don't think it was a major issue for students applying to Bowdoin," Mills said. "I think it's a good change for Bowdoin. ... We'll see how it plays out."

Campbell, for one, seems to be navigating her first year just fine without a car.

"I think that Bowdoin is doing a good job making up for the fact that first years can't have cars," she said.