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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Bus route to stay in effect

Although the number of students riding the south off-campus shuttle from the Copper Beech Townhomes is lower than anticipated, the extended route will continue through the end of the semester.

After a two month trial period to monitor the number of students picked up at the Napoleon Road and Dunbridge Road complex, Jim Wiegand, director of public safety, concluded he needs more information before making the stop permanent.

“I don’t think I have the data [to make a decision],” he said. “The number of riders has been fluctuating up and down.”

Wiegand expected at least 75 people from the new complex to ride the shuttle daily.

But the number of students from Copper Beech that use the service averages between 28 and 30 people.

“Ridership is not what we anticipated,” Wiegand said. “I really anticipated significantly higher numbers than that.”

During the morning route on Tuesday, shuttle driver Marilyn Hamman said out of 14 trips, she picked up students at Copper Beech five times.

Wiegand is concerned with the low numbers.

“We’re a month and a half into it, I thought word of mouth would have spread,” he said. “If I’m only going to get 26 to 28 [people] throughout the day, I’m not sure if it’s a good use of our resources.”

In addition to the low numbers of students being picked up at Copper Beech, regular ridership has also decreased.

Shuttle Service Manager Fred Smith said the south shuttle normally transports between 650 and 675 people per day.

But now the bus only picks up about 525 riders each day.

Smith attributes the decrease to the lengthened route. Prior to the change in early September, the route took 15 minutes.

But with the additional stop, the trip now takes between 19 and 24 minutes.

“It’s taking too long,” Smith said.

Vanessa Hagan, junior, who rides the shuttle every day, agrees the extended route is frustrating.

“It’s not on a regular schedule so it’s harder for me to know when it’s going to come,” Hagan said. “It used to be every 15 minutes, now it’s so random.”

Hagan admitted she’s more prone to walk to class rather than wait for the shuttle.

“I used to walk when it was warmer, but I’m just putting up with it,” Hagan said.

Also an avid shuttle rider, Nnenna S. Ononye, senior, said the inconsistent route schedule is irritating.

“You end up being late to every place you go,” Ononye said. “Some days I have to brave the cold and walk to school. It just really sucks.”

Although Wiegand would like to make the Copper Beech stop permanent, he said he’ll base the decision on whether to continue the route through spring semester on information he receives.

“I’d like to continue it, I think it’s important for our students,” Wiegand said. ” I’ll try to gather as much information as I can and make the best decision possible for the University, students and operation of the shuttle.”

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