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November 30, 2023

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Shuttle route extended to the Beech

This story was originally printed on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005


With the addition of a south off-campus bus stop at the Copper Beech Townhomes, an estimated seven to 10 minutes has been tacked on to the route.

The change – which began last week – was the result of a number of University students that live at the complex on Napoleon Road and Dunbridge Road requesting the service.

And although the stop is temporary through the end of the month, it could become permanent if the amount of shuttle riders increases, according to Jim Wiegand, University police chief.

“If we’re not getting more riders, we’re not gaining anything,” Wiegand said. “If I pick up 50 people from Copper Beech and I lose 50 from other streets, I didn’t gain anything.”

The south shuttle route provides an average of 100,000 rides a year proving the service is essential to students.

But shuttle driver Marilyn Hamnan fears regular riders will be frustrated by the lengthened route and stop using the service.

“Some of the kids on the regular route are getting irritated and are not riding,” Hamnan said. “I have a feeling I’ll lose more here than I get out there [Copper Beech] unless things change.”

During the first day of operation, 19 students of 606 total riders were picked up at Copper Beech, said Shuttle Service Manager Fred Smith.

Although those students accounted for just 3.1 percent of the day’s riders, the shuttle service is striving to adapt to the continuous development of houses and apartment complexes around Bowling Green.

“We’ve modified over the years to suit the needs of the town and this is just one more of those modifications,” Smith said.

For students like Adam Hook, junior, who live at Copper Beech, the bus offers a convenient way to get to campus quickly – and saves fuel.

“It’s nice to have the bus with gas the way it is,” Hook said.

Ray Hawkins, junior and also a resident of the complex, refuses to drive and rode his bike to campus prior to the change in the shuttle route.

But Hawkins is concerned he might have to resort to driving if numbers of riders don’t increase.

Limiting the number of cars on campus is one goal of the shuttle services.

The short extension in the route could potentially decrease parking congestion on campus.

“The fewer cars we have on campus, the easier it is to maintain and control traffic flow and parking,” Smith said.

But Smith is uncertain if students will tolerate riding the bus for those few extra minutes.

Prior to the change, Smith said the round-trip was “the perfect 15 minute route.”

Now taking more than 20 minutes, the route change has frustrated some students.

Pointing out that the Copper Beech residents should be provided with the option to ride the shuttle, Ryan Fairchild, sophomore, isn’t excited about the added time on the bus.

“I don’t like that it takes so long,” Fairchild said.

Unaware of the shift in the route, Sandra Niyimbaa, junior, is also frustrated with the decision.

“I’m very mad because I was late three times for my classes,” Niyimbaa said. “They didn’t tell us they were going to pick these people up.”

Candice Archer, senior, who rides the south shuttle bus every day to class said the addition to the route doesn’t bother her.

“I usually just sit around and wait for class those extra couple of minutes,” Archer said.

Once the trial period is over at the end of September, numbers will be evaluated to determine if the route change will become permanent, Wiegand said.

“In three weeks, we’ll make a decision if it was a success or failure,” he said. “If we’re not increasing our number of riders on a daily basis, then I don’t think it’s a success.

“But if it looks like numbers are up, in all likelihood, we’ll continue.”

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