Starting this spring break, a new student-run shuttle service will provide Yalies with a cheaper alternative to professional airport bus services.
Campus Bus, which will donate all of its proceeds to charity, offers students round-trip tickets to Hartford’s Bradley Airport for $30 and to John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in New York for $50, co-founder Francisco Liquido ’08 said. Under a special discount arranged by the Yale College Council, Connecticut Limo — the principal airport shuttle company servicing New Haven — currently charges $50 and $85 for round-trip tickets to Bradley and either JFK or LaGuardia, respectively.
Liquido said the frustration he felt after past experiences with Connecticut Limo was one of the principal reasons he and Louis Gresham ’08 set up Campus Bus.
“If you buy a 2:00 ticket, chances are the bus gets there anytime between 3:00 and 3:30. So we thought there has to be a better way and a cheaper way of doing it,” Liquido said.
Gresham said his and Liquido’s desire to offer students a less expensive method of getting to the airport motivated his and Liquido’s efforts to arrange the new service.
“We looked at the shuttle services available to Yale students going to the airport, and we saw there was definitely a market for better service and more affordable alternatives,” he said.
Gresham said he thinks one reason Campus Bus is able to offer lower rates may be that it contracts an outside bus service and professional drivers, while Connecticut Limo has to pay service costs for its own equipment and employees.
Any profits the new service produces will be split evenly between the Yale-New Haven Cancer Center and Relay for Life on the one hand, and the Society for the Relief of Nuclear Waste Victims in the Philippines on the other. While Campus Bus has yet to make any such profits on tickets, which went on sale last week, Gresham said he is optimistic that sales will meet the necessary threshold.
“At this point, it really hinges on how many people we can get before spring break,” he said. “We’ll have to sell 75 tickets to break even.”
Liquido and Gresham said they have asked the YCC to officially sponsor the program or to allow them to send out a schoolwide e-mail advertising program. But they have been unsuccessful getting YCC cooperation to date, they said.
“We are trying to get a contact with the YCC,” Liquido said. “But so far that hasn’t worked. They’re hesitant. That has annoyed us, because student government should be about students.”
YCC President Steven Syverud ’06 said the Council has arranged to meet with Liquido and Gresham on Sunday to discuss an endorsement arrangement. He said he does not think such an arrangement would be detrimental to the YCC’s existing deal with Connecticut Limo.
Taryn Hillin ’07 said she had not heard of the new program, but her previous experiences with Connecticut Limo have left her unsatisfied with the service and open to new options.
“Sometimes I would have 7 a.m. flights, and you would have to meet Connecticut Limo at like 3 a.m., and they wouldn’t show up until 5 a.m.,” Hillin said. “I’ve missed two of my planes waiting for Connecticut Limo. I’ll look into [Campus Bus] if I see an advertisement for it.”
Stan Chiueh ’08 said he bought Campus Bus tickets for his trip home after Liquido and Gresham knocked on his door advertising their new business.
Liquido said he and Gresham have set up a Web site to advertise their service, in addition to sending out mass e-mails and going door-to-door.