Billy Johnston(left) and Trent Walliser(right), members of the UTC Piggybacks, carry students across campus in new trend that is sweeping the university by storm. Wednesday January 22, 2019. The piggybacks started out as a joke but has recently become a thriving business. (Photo by Riley Gentry)

By Farin Cloyd, Staff Writer-

Piggybacks is a free service started by seven UTC students that provides an alternative mode of transportation between classes. 

Trent Walliser, a junior from Chattanooga, and Billy Johnston, a sophomore from Cumming, GA, are the masterminds behind the organization and recruited some close friends to join. The group offers complimentary piggyback rides to students throughout campus. 

“It’s a free service on UTC’s campus meant to make people smile,” Walliser said.

The organization started as a joke, according to Walliser, but has quickly gained popularity across campus.

“Two Fridays ago, I was carrying one of my buddies on my shoulders through the UC,” Walliser said. “It was such a strange thing to see, so everyone took pictures and videos of us.”

Walliser later consulted with Johnston in his dorm room where they decided to start the organization. 

Originally, the group planned to charge customers $10 for every quarter mile they are carried but quickly decided to make the service completely free. 

“Since we’ve switched to being a free service, we’ve blown up,” said Johnston. 

The group has seen a drastic increase in popularity, especially on social media platforms such as Instagram. In sixteen hours, the group’s Instagram page gained 100 followers, and they were featured on the Barstool Mocs Instagram page. 

Piggybacks now have over 600 followers on Instagram, and the group attributes their social media success to the amount of exposure they get while offering piggyback rides. 

“Nobody really knew about us, but the more we give piggybacks, and the more shoutouts we get, it’s just exponentially getting bigger,” Walliser said. 

The group is getting so popular that they are looking into recruiting more members because of the growing demand for rides. 

“People really seem to be loving it,” Johnston said. “We’ve had four or five rides just today, and it’s only the afternoon.”

Piggybacks follow the motto, “No Slop, We Don’t Drop,” and sports a pig graphic as a logo to show their dedication to the service as well as a continuing effort to make people laugh. 

Students interested in the service can contact Piggybacks through their Instagram @utc.piggybacks. Piggybacks advertise that their service is available anytime and anywhere on UTC’s campus.

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