A new Yale Shuttle Express Line will seek to improve access to Union Station for those hoping to catch trains at the end of the workday.
The new Pink Line will run on a 15-minute short loop around the School of Medicine and Union Station from 4:10 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. The Pink Line was introduced this Tuesday after Yale Transportation received recurring complaints from Yale School of Medicine students and staff. A majority of them take trains home and frequently have trouble finding seats on the shuttle to Union Station at the end of the workday.
“We’re adding a little bit more seat [space] and capacity to the existing Red Line, but instead of sending it all the way back uptown, we’re keeping it in the general vicinity of the med school,” Director of Yale Transportation Ed Bebyn said.
Before adding the Pink Line, the Red Line was the only Yale Shuttle line that passed the School of Medicine and traveled on to Union Station. However, by the time the Red Line reached the School of Medicine during rush hour, shuttles were often already at full capacity.
Bebyn said he began receiving emails from students and staff who could not get on the shuttle, as well as reports from drivers saying that they had left people at stops because their shuttles were full.
Instead of adding another full Red Line, Bebyn decided to simply add an hour and a half of service that would directly service those that needed to get to the station during rush hour. He added that it did not make sense to add a four-hour shift, equivalent to another Red Line, to solve an issue that only spanned one hour.
Currently, only one express shuttle is running. Its driver, Denise Rogers, explained that she already used to work the 6 p.m. shift and is now simply working the two additional hours.
“With this plan, we take care of our costumers, and don’t waste the University’s budget,” Bebyn said.
Frequent shuttle riders interviewed said they were optimistic that the new Pink Line could alleviate some of the passenger congestion.
“I didn’t know about this new line yet, but I think it will definitely be very helpful,” said Victoria Schulman, a post-doctorate research associate at the School of Medicine. “I’ve often had trouble getting a seat on this shuttle.”
Schulman lives in Stamford, Conn., and the train there leaves once every hour. She explained that if she cannot take a shuttle because all the seats are filled, she is stuck at the station for at least another hour and a half.
Gladys Twarkins, a frequent Yale Shuttle rider, also expressed enthusiasm about the change. She added that she believes the Yale Shuttles are vital to travel around New Haven and sees a new line as yet another improvement for the city.
However, both Schulman and Twarkins argued that this new line might not alleviate all of the issues, noting that the shuttles are often full at other times of the day as well.
Schulman explained that, in the morning, she usually ends up taking the New Haven Hospital Shuttle because the Yale Shuttles are “frustrating” and too full. Twarkins added that at noon, she and others often have to wait for one or two shuttles before getting seats.
“All of the routes on campus are designed in some sort of collaboration between riders and managers,” Bebyn said. “If there’s a problem out there that we hear about, we’ll do our best to find a way to accommodate the riders.”