Improvements to the Yale shuttle allowing for shorter round-trip rides and more frequent service went into effect this week, Associate Vice President for the Administration Janet Lindner said Wednesday.
While riders waited for up to 40 minutes with the previous schedule, daytime shuttles now run every 10 minutes from 7:20 a.m. to 6 p.m., Lindner said. Buses run from 7 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. less frequently.
The shuttle improvements also include a new “Central-Science” loop that travels between Old Campus, Science Hill and Orange Street every half-hour, Lindner said in an e-mail. Anyone with a Yale ID can ride the shuttle for free.
With the termination of two shuttle loops — one to Howe Street and one to Tower Parkway — shuttle service is now more effective without an increase in cost compared to last year, Director of Support Services Donald Relihan said.
“Each of those loops took at least five minutes to complete,” Relihan said of the terminated routes.
Relihan said reports conducted by the Yale College Council and the New Haven Bus Company, which runs the shuttles, confirmed the administration’s suspicions of low rider demand for the Howe Street and Tower Parkway loops.
“We also spoke to the drivers of the buses. They told us about those two loops as well,” Relihan said.
Drivers are getting to their destinations faster because the new shuttle route avoids some traffic-congested streets and more daytime shuttles are in effect, shuttle driver John Arthur said.
Digital displays of bus destinations have been added to the shuttles so that riders may quickly identify where each bus is going.
“We’re hoping to get more and more riders,” Lindner said. “Driving around New Haven is always a challenge.”
Lindner said the night time shuttle has not been affected by the changes to the shuttle service and continues to provide a regular route combined with door-to-door drop-offs between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Joshua Burgett NUR ’06 said shuttle improvements will make a great difference for him in the winter, when the weather will make it more difficult for him to walk to the Medical School. He said he remembers crowds forming inside when students had to wait 40 minutes for the shuttle under the old schedule.
“Twenty to 30 people would just pack in the entryway to Sterling Hall,” Burgett said.
Burgett said he timed his first wait for the shuttle this year and it was only 9 minutes and 40 seconds.
Students have also supported a switch, effective this semester, to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel for the shuttles, Lindner said.
“We’re also going to explore alternative fuel vehicles, such as hybrids,” she said. “This was the direct result of student participation and help.”