November 5, 2012

UT Survey: Holiday travel services

Just around the corner, the winter holidays present special transportation challenges for universities and colleges. We asked university transit operators what additional services they offer for students going home for the holidays. Here are their responses:

“WVU does provide charter bus services for the WVU Parents Club to a variety of destinations along the eastern seaboard for students that live in Pennsylvania, [the] NYC area [and] Maryland. Additionally, WVU coordinates with the local transit provider, Mountain Line on bus services to the Pittsburgh Greyhound and Airport terminals and through Megabus that provides service from Morgantown to Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.  Finally through our online carpool matching system — Zimride — we promote carpools home for the Thanksgiving, Winter Break and Spring Break.”

Hugh Kierig, director, department of transportation and parking
West Virginia University
Morgantown, W.V.

“We have campus shuttles that also take students to the rapid stop at University Circle. We have two [Greater Cleveland] RTA rapid stops near campus: University Circle stop on the south side and then one on the north side of campus. The rapid goes into the airport terminal. Both are within walking distances from residential dorm areas.”

Susan Griffith, senior news and information specialist
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland

“MTD doesn’t have any special services per se for holiday travel. However, the Amtrak station serving Champaign-Urbana is located at Illinois Terminal, the intermodal center in downtown Champaign owned and operated by MTD. Illinois Terminal is also a departure point for regional bus services including Megabus, Peoria Charter, Lex Express, Greyhound and Burlington Trailways. Illinois Terminal is an important hub for MTD services and is directly served by six routes that come from the [University of Illinois] (UI) campus; the frequency of service from campus to Illinois Terminal is very high. We also have a route, the 27/270 Air Bus, that serves the UI campus and Willard Airport, making it easy for travelers to get from UI to the airport.

MTD increased operation of its SafeRides late-night demand-response service this semester. It is now available for those students who stay on campus during Thanksgiving and winter break; UI has the largest international student body of any public university in the U.S., so there is a large number of students who stick around during breaks and who need this service.”

Jan Kijowski, marketing director
Champaign-Urbana MTD (serves the University of Illinois)
Urbana, Ill.

“We coordinate our holiday service with Amtrak to know exactly how many students have purchased tickets. Many times, at least six or seven extra cars are needed on the train. When we find this out, we are able to add enough extra service to deliver everyone on time. Conversely, we know exactly how many students are on a given train and can have enough buses there to get them from the train station to the campus. We also know exactly when the train will get in, through coordination with Amtrak, and the buses can be used more efficiently as a result. On most holidays, over 70% of the riders on the train also use the bus.”

Jude Kiah, director
Go West Transit (serves Western Illinois University)
Macomb, Ill.

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