Many Yale students returning to campus Sunday were treated to the luxuries of reclining seats and television sets showing “The Simpsons” on their way from Hartford’s Bradley International Airport to Phelps Gate, courtesy of the Yale College Council and graduate school student governments.
The quiet mood that prevailed inside these buses was also found in vans run by Connecticut Limo, the company that formerly monopolized shuttle service from New Haven to Bradley. Except on the YCC shuttles, all of the weary, jet-lagged passengers were Yale students.
David Reiman ’05 said he almost “instantly” fell asleep during the ride on the YCC bus.
“The Yale shuttle as a bus was a lot more spacious and comfortable [than Connecticut Limo vans], and as a result, it was a lot easier to sleep in,” he said.
The three chartered buses serviced by Pawtuxet Valley Bus Lines transported 187 students throughout the day, YCC Transportation and Security Committee Chairman Steven Syverud ’06 estimated. The buses ran every hour, on the hour, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Many students said price and convenience were factors in their decisions to take the YCC shuttle, which was co-sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Student Senate and the Graduate Student Assembly. For a one-way ticket price of $15, students received transportation directly from Bradley to Phelps Gate. Graduate student Denise Elshoff ’07 said one of the advantages to taking the YCC bus service was that, unlike Connecticut Limo, the YCC bus arrived directly at Phelps Gate without having to drop off passengers at other locations.
“It’s more convenient than Connecticut Limo and much cheaper,” she said.
Student Raina Lipsitz ’04 said she liked the expediency of the shuttle service compared to her previous rides with Connecticut Limo.
“I don’t think I’ve ever gotten back to campus this quickly,” she said. “With Connecticut Limo it always takes about three more times what I feel it should take.”
Yale College Council President Elliott Mogul ’05 said the YCC is currently evaluating the success of the shuttle and the situation looks promising for the service to run in the future.
“Based on the numbers so far, it looks good for us to continue providing the service for spring break and for future breaks,” said Mogul.
Mogul said the YCC would also consider expanding the shuttle service to other airports, such as LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. Syverud said he was pleased by the lack of logistical problems in providing the shuttle service.
“The buses have been early; the drivers, professional,” he said.
Syverud is a staff reporter for the Yale Daily News.
During the later rides, the YCC provided the videos of “The Simpsons,” Syverud said.
GPSS President Jason Marshall SOM ’04 said he thinks Connecticut Limo might consider lowering its prices for Yale students — $34 one-way and $50 round trip — if the YCC approached the company with evidence of opportunity losses resulting from students taking the YCC shuttle.
“If you can show over a few days that you can transfer a significant number of people and take that data directly to Connecticut Limo, then it wouldn’t be surprising if they’d try to work something out,” Marshall said.
Representatives from Connecticut Limo’s main office were unavailable to comment Sunday.
Syverud said the sale of bus tickets online was more successful than expected, with 106 students buying tickets through www.yalestation.org prior to arriving at Bradley.
“It was really nice to know that we had so many people sign up in advance, because what we did today was a big question mark, because we had never done it before,” Syverud said.
Marshall said the fact that the graduate schools do not start classes on the same day as Yale College resulted in a lower number of graduate students taking advantage of Sunday’s shuttle than undergraduates. He said he hopes the GPSS and the YCC will work together more closely to coordinate a shuttle service for Spring Break, when starting dates for the different schools are uniform.