Science Hill bus service to launch

Getting from an early morning chemistry class to William L. Harkness Hall in the standard ten minute window between classes will no longer be a near-impossible task.

The Yale College Council and Yale University Parking and Transit will launch a pilot scheduled bus service down science hill this week. While a scheduled service to science classes is currently in place, professors and students said the new service will help eliminate scheduling limitations and chronic tardiness for students who take consecutive classes on the hill and main campus.

A Yale Transit bus awaits passengers, which, starting next week, will include students traveling down Science Hill on a bus service that will run three times a week.
Paul Ramirez
A Yale Transit bus awaits passengers, which, starting next week, will include students traveling down Science Hill on a bus service that will run three times a week.

YCC Representative Emily Schofield ’09, the Council’s project liason, said students on the Standing Committee on the Sciences pitched the idea for the downhill service, and transportation services agreed to a trial run.

“It’s almost a little odd that we hadn’t thought of this sooner,” Schofield said. “But it’s better late than never.”

Students rarely use the buses that currently run down Prospect St. as part of the blue and green line loops because pickup times are infrequent and unpredictable during peak traffic hours, Associate Dean of Science Education William Segraves said.

“It was slower, and students were not using it as much,” he said. “This is an attempt to have a different route that will be more responsive to students needs.”

The new service will pick students up outside Sterling Chemistry Laboratory at 10:21 a.m., 11:21 a.m. and 12:21 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It will stop at Osborn Memorial Laboratories and then travel straight down Prospect Street to central campus.

But the service will be logistically tricky, Segraves said, because students will have to cross the street from the laboratories to get on the bus, and they may have difficulty catching the bus one minute after classes end. This first week will be used to determine how best to set up the return service for students, he said.

Chemistry professor Andrzej Cieplak, who teaches a 9:30 a.m. organic chemistry class, said he is glad that the YCC has organized a trial run of the return service. Many of his students have to leave his class early, only to be late for another elsewhere on campus.

“It is not [an] uncommon situation that a student taking an exam in a science class is expected to reach within ten minutes a classroom on the other side of the campus to be on time for another quiz or exam,” he said in an e-mail.

Biology major Lauren Bell ’08 said although she enjoys walking up and down the hill, the additional buses will be helpful both for increasing scheduling possibilities and for helping students to be punctual.

“Three days a week, I have a class up on Science Hill and then a class on main campus and then another class on Science Hill, and I am always three minutes late for each of those classes,” she said.

Transportation Services is currently considering the possibility of return services on Tuesday and Thursday and may offer more than one bus per time slot if the service is popular.

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