If 10 students board a Red Line shuttle during its seven hours of operation, it is considered a busy night.
Yale Transit’s Red Line — which was proposed by the Yale College Council last winter to provide a safe way for students to travel from residential colleges to off-campus neighborhoods including Edgewood, Park, Howe and Dwight streets — now averages fewer than 10 riders per evening, Parking and Transit Department officials said. Officials said they will begin an advertising campaign to increase ridership, and if traffic does not increase, they will consider rerouting the shuttles to service other areas.
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Many undergraduate residents of the neighborhood served by the Red Line said they had no idea that the shuttle, which runs from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m., exists.
Tyler Casertano ’08 said in an e-mail that he was entirely unaware that a shuttle ran near his apartment.
“I would absolutely use the line if the schedule and route were accessible, especially now that it is getting cold,” he said.
To address this issue, the Parking and Transit Department, in cooperation with the YCC, will target undergraduates with e-mails, posters and table tents once the new semester begins, Manager of Transit and Parking Ed Bebyn said. If the Red Line still has a low ridership after the publicity blitz, he said, the department will consider reallocating resources to direct shuttles to new routes, including service to New Haven’s Union Station.
“We’re not here to put a bus on the road and go to bed,” Bebyn said.
Parking and Transit seeks to create popular routes, holding monthly meetings to look at ridership, customer comments and changes in campus demographics, Bebyn said. The Red Line is one of the only routes not to have seen an increase in the number of riders recently, he said. But if a line is integral to the safety of its riders, service will continue regardless of the volume of ridership, he said.
“The goal is not to save money but to spend money as wisely as possible,” Bebyn said.
Yale Police Department Lt. Michael Patten said he believes the improvement of the minibus and shuttle services has contributed to a decline in the number of robberies against Yale students this year.
The YCC is currently engaged in informal discussions about the Red Line’s future, although the Council is divided about the issue, said Emily Schofield ’09, Branford College’s representative and current liaison with Parking and Transportation.