Thanksgiving break means long drives and airport delays for some, but Yale Transit hopes to make the trip easier for students traveling home by train by running a shuttle service to New Haven’s Union Station.

Yale Transit will be offering hourly service between Phelps Gate and the train station Nov. 19, 20 and 28 for all Yale students, Yale Transit and Parking Manager Ed Bebyn said. Students welcomed the announcement of the shuttle as an easy, free way to get to the train station so long as their train schedules align with the shuttle schedule.

Although Yale Transit offers services to the train station daily via one route or another, this hourly vacation shuttle goes directly to the train station and is more convenient, Bebyn said.

“This is a significant augmentation to the service,” he said. “At all of the various vacations we will be offering this shuttle.”

Josh Sweren ’08 said he looks forward to the ease of taking the shuttle as long as its rigid schedule doesn’t outweigh its free cost.

“If it actually seems a lot more convenient at the time I want to leave, I’ll use a taxi, but right now I’m leaning towards using the shuttle,” Josh Sweren ’08 said.

Students cited the shuttle’s schedule and Harvard-Yale plans as the biggest reasons why they will not use the shuttle for Thanksgiving break, even though they said it is better than paying for a taxi — the mode by which many said they usually reach the station. Bebyn said that with more than 5,000 undergraduates the service is still worth offering even if usage may be somewhat lower because of the game. Students who have ridden the shuttle in the past said it is well-run and free, but is not always as quick or convenient as the approximately six-dollar taxi ride.

“When I get to the station in New Haven, if there’s a Yale bus there, I’ll take it,” Eleanor Anderson ’06, who frequently rides Metro-North Railroad to New York, said. “It’s never clear with the schedule, sometimes I’ll get on the bus and wait twenty minutes for it to leave. Although that’s okay — it’s worth it to me to not pay seven dollars for a taxi.”

Yale Transit hoped to make the schedule accessible by e-mailing it to all students last week, Bebyn said. Many students said they usually take a taxi to the train station when there is not special shuttle service, but some said they enjoy walking there in fair weather during the daytime and they make use of the University’s minibus for a free ride back to campus at night.

This holiday shuttle service, which will be available for all school breaks, is an improvement over previously sporadic holiday service, said Alan Kennedy-Shaffer ’06, a member of last year’s Yale College Council Transportation and Security Committee. The committee gave Yale Transit a detailed set of recommendations — almost all of which were adopted — to improve services, specifically the daytime shuttle service, Committee Chairman Steven Syverud ’06 said. Although the focus of the committee was not holiday shuttles, the committee did recommend expanded vacation service, which has been made standard, Syverud said.

“Our ears are always open to suggestions,” Bebyn said of the transit department. “It was through student suggestions that we improved our regular service, and we are always open to suggestions for any improvements to this service as well.”

[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”16839″ ]