University to offer shuttle services to basketball games starting Saturday

Reporter and Reporter

Beginning Saturday, the University’s shuttle service will take students to and from the Stroh Center for home basketball games.

The shuttle service will begin one hour before game time and run until one hour after the game completes, said Mary Ellen Gillespie, associate athletics director for external relations. The route is about 15 minutes long.

Parking Services designed the route with four stops at locations to minimize walking distance and maximize student pickup, said Aaron Kane, manager of parking and shuttle services.

One shuttle will make stops behind Centennial Hall, Founders and Falcon Heights before dropping students off at the Stroh Center entrance, said Aileen Berry, vehicle operations supervisor.

The purpose of the service is to make things more convenient for students, Gillespie said.

“Some of the student feedback that we got is that they don’t want to make the walk, and I can understand that in the cold weather,” she said. “So if it helps students and is a service that people can collaborate on and provide for students, then we’ll make sure that happens.”

President Mazey suggested the service after seeing the positive results of a similar shuttle service offered during the women’s basketball game during her inauguration week, Kane said.

“[President Mazey] is completely supportive,” Gillespie said. “She said, ‘let’s look into offering this and find out who we need to get around the table to have discussions with,’ and so we got all of those folks around the table.”

Parking Services and the Athletic Department met last month to review student feedback and discuss the possibility of the shuttle service, Gillespie said. They also discussed the possibility of providing a similar shuttle service for football games.

“We’re going to start off with basketball and see how well that works,” Kane said. “We’ll look at what kind of usage we’re seeing, and hopefully flow that over into the football season and continue from there.”

Other sports could possibly be added in the future, but student feedback has shown that basketball and football are the most frequent concerns among students, Gillespie said.

For now, Gillespie said she hopes the new shuttle service will attract more students to basketball games.

“I hope that it will have a good effect,” she said. “If we’re making it more convenient and as easy as possible for students to get to the games, I would think it would have an instant effect on increasing attendance.”

The Athletic Department and Parking Services are eager to see the results of the new route, Kane said.

“We’re excited about providing this service for the students and look forward to seeing it get used,” he said.