University

University of Akron expands shuttle bus service

Posted on December 22, 2008

[IMAGE]Roo-Express-full.jpg[/IMAGE]

The University of Akron in Ohio cut its long-term ties with the local transit system, Metro RTA, in the fall of 2007 and has embarked on an ambitious shuttle bus program that provides greater flexibility, control and coverage.

The shuttle service, called the Roo Express, was launched about a year ago with three buses, according to Jim Stafford, director of the university’s Parking Services department. For the 2008-09 school year, the program was expanded to 12 buses covering six routes.

Stafford said the contract with Metro RTA ended October 2007 and wasn’t renewed, mainly because of low ridership and lack of responsiveness on the part of the transit system. “The program kept shrinking and shrinking,” he said. “It ended up being one route and one bus.”

When the university asked the transit system to make changes to the route or to alter the stops, it would be a couple of weeks before the bus drivers responded accordingly. “Also, they were running 40-foot buses that were almost empty,” Stafford said. “I’d rather have a smaller bus that’s full.”

To that end, the university has purchased 26-passenger cutaway buses with perimeter seating for its shuttle service. Not only are they smaller than the city buses, they’re also branded as University of Akron buses, complete with the Roo Express name, Zippy the kangaroo mascot wrap on the hood and university color scheme.

“We felt like we needed to move forward with newer, branded buses because that would encourage students to ride,” said Jared Coleman, assistant director of Parking Services. Previously, the Metro RTA buses used for university service looked like any other Metro buses except that the header said “University.”

The cost of the new shuttle bus system is, of course, much higher than the single bus route covered by Metro RTA, but the university this fall implemented a $115 transportation fee that is added to the tuition of all students taking 6 or more credit hours.

The university contracts the operation and maintenance of the shuttle buses to Ampco System Parking for $34.59 per hour. “We’re very happy with the new service,” Stafford said. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback.”

Coleman said the Roo Express provided 70,000 rides in September and is on track for 250,000 rides this semester. “We’re light years ahead of what Metro was carrying,” he said.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (1 Comment)

More News

Wis. university partners with ETA, REI for intelligent transit system

Overall rider satisfaction has increased due to the availability of real-time arrival predictions via public and mobile websites, as well as the newly-launched SPOT mobile app.

W. Virginia U.'s personal rapid transit system closes for summer

The university will continue to modernize the system through a variety of system upgrades and maintenance activities, such as the installation of the new train control infrastructure and the replacement of select electrical gear. The system will re-open in August.

U. of Arkansas transit system to run Saturdays

The expanded service is possible thanks to an additional $55,000 in funding from the city of Fayetteville this year.

University student creates new tool for visualizing transit

Transit Visualization Client, or TRAVIC, takes public data from 249 transportation networks, across five continents, and puts them onto one, animated map.

Auburn U. Tiger Transit drivers vote to unionize

The drivers have voted to unionize in attempt to get more affordable health care, higher wages and respect in the workplace, according to a report.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (1)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The resource for managers of class 1-7 truck Fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close