New bus service takes off

Ticket sales for the new student-run Campus Bus Service have topped the 400 mark after less than two weeks.

Since the launch of its Web site a week and a half ago, the service has grossed well over $5,000, co-founders Louis Gresham ’08 and Francisco Liquido ’08 said. Initially, Liquido said, Campus Bus was simply hoping to break even and avoid operating at a loss. But Gresham and Liquido both said sales in the past week have been unexpectedly high.

“The response has been exponential,” Gresham said. “Every day, ticket sales have been jumping higher and higher.”

The co-founders said they attribute the surge in demand over the past week to an active, direct advertising campaign, which included multiple e-mails and flyers in every dining hall. After an initial e-mail was sent last Saturday to undergraduates, Gresham said there was a significant increase in sales. The service’s Web site, campusbus.net, which has only been operating for a week, now receives well over 600 hits daily.

Elizabeth Zamora ’08, who purchased a ticket last week, said she thinks the service has been well-received.

“The thing that appealed to me most was the cost,” Zamora said. “I’ve seen a lot of people who were a little skeptical at first change their minds about the service.”

But some students said they were concerned that a student-run service like Campus Bus might not as reliable as a professional one.

“I would definitely ask around first,” Edwina Clarke ’09 said. “I don’t know if I’d necessarily take it.”

Gresham and Liquido said they attribute the popularity of the service to its focus on undergraduates, as well as to its lower fares and promise of more punctual pick-up compared to existing airport transportation services.

“We’re undergraduates ourselves, and we cater to them,” Gresham said. “The fact that it’s nonprofit is also appealing.”

But some students said they are happy with existing airport transportation services, such as Connecticut Limo.

“I’ve never had problems with CT Limo before, and I’m not willing to try a new service,” Michael Bilow ’09 said.

Both co-founders said the Yale College Council has been supportive of Campus Bus, although the YCC has a deal with CT Limo. CT Limo representatives declined to comment on the new service.

Liquido said Campus Bus has been receiving e-mails from parents and both undergraduate and graduate administrators, offering praise and requesting tickets. In addition to individual ticket sales, the service has received numerous requests for private charters and group fares. The undergraduate a cappella group Shades, the School of Epidemiology and Public Health, Branford College, and several sports teams and clubs are among the service’s clients.

High ticket sales make it likely that Campus Bus will be able to offer expanded and more frequent service in the future, Gresham said. In addition to offering private group charter service throughout the year, there is a possibility for expanded services for individual undergraduates. The co-founders said bus service will be available for next Thanksgiving, and bus service for the end of this semester is also being considered.

At this point, Liquido and Gresham said they are focusing on fine-tuning the service and ensuring it runs smoothly.

“Right now, we’re moving into the phase of getting passenger lists and sending out confirmation e-mails,” Gresham said.

The service closed ticket sales for spring break shuttles Wednesday at 5 p.m. to ensure adequate time is available for the comprehensive passenger lists and confirmation e-mails, Liquido said. The Campus Bus service will be running shuttles to Bradley, John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports hourly from March 3-5 and again for returns from March 18-19.

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