By Amanda Tolentino
Now, students don’t have to worry about being late on account of the Baylor University Shuttle system.
The university has implemented a new shuttle schedule that should eliminate many of their travel woes, including an after-hours route for students who stay on campus through the late evening to early morning hours. The red, blue, gold and downtown area shuttle routes have been modified and total service hours extended.
Last year’s red route schedule for University Parks and The Outpost was a 15-minute service. This year, the red route service is 7.5 minutes. The individual shuttle rounds continue to last 15 minutes, but because a new vehicle has been added to the route, the service comes in seven-minute intervals. Natalie James, Waco transit director of service development, said Waco transit and Baylor Parking and Transportation Services worked together to add a new vehicle to the red route due to overcrowding issues.
“We took one of the blue vehicles and made it into a red vehicle,” James said.
Students who rode the red route last year often complained about the shuttle being too crowded, especially during the 15 minutes before each class. The new route allows for a higher volume of students.
“If one vehicle is too full, students don’t have to wait the full 15 minutes,” James said of the new schedule.
Director of Baylor Parking and Transportation Services Matt Penney said last year’s red route serviced an average of 800 students a day on one bus.
“Between 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., we saw that buses were packed due to capacity issues,” Penney said.
James said the new red route serviced 1,433 passengers on August 20 alone, the first day of classes.
Penney said Baylor still has a total of four vehicles, but reducing the blue route to one shuttle with 12-minute services also saves the service money.
The overall service hours of the shuttle system were also expanded beginning the first day of classes, to better meet the needs of students, faculty and staff. All routes now operate from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. In addition to the red route changes, the blue and gold routes also received slight modifications.
Penney described last year’s blue route as a “circular,” meaning it traveled around campus to University Parks. Due to the re-opening of Third Street, Penney said there is no longer a need to travel around the whole campus.
“The gold route was one of our weaker routes,” said Penney. It has been reduced to one vehicle instead of two because of slower traffic, with a 15-minute service.
The Downtown Area Shuttle services changed from 20-minute to 15-minute services.
“It is good to know I have all these options for the shuttle, especially the after-hours route,” said Wylie junior Megan Judd. “I do not have a parking tag, so I will be using the shuttle a lot this year.”
A new addition to the shuttle is the 20-minute service after-hours route, which began Aug. 20. This route stops at University Parks Apartments, the intramural fields, Moody Library, Allen Hall, Collins Hall, Brooks Hall, Russell Hall and back to Moody Library.
The after-hours route runs Monday through Thursday from 6:30 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. The shuttle will service the intramural fields until midnight.
“No one knows about it yet. It needs to be highly publicized,” James said. On Aug. 20, only 14 people used the after-hours route.
James also said Waco Transit is working on marketing the route.
“Now I can stay at the library late without worrying about catching a ride home,” Judd said.
James said the designated stops are the only ones the after-hours route will make. Students cannot flag a stop due to security purposes.
Penney and James are hopeful about the newest route addition. Penney said the new route will allow students to travel by bus at night safely and quickly.