Web Extra: Are universities cutting summer transit services?

Posted on June 13, 2011

[IMAGE]husky020-6.jpg[/IMAGE]With many universities around the nation providing transportation to its students, faculty and staff, the summer break poses an interesting dilemma since there are significantly fewer people on campus. However, there is still a need for summer transportation and late night services, which could be costly to provide for universities and local transit agencies.

METRO Magazine asked university and public transportation officials the following questions: Do you provide summer or late night service to the university's student, faculty and staff? If so, which? Also, will you provide those services during the summer break? Please discuss some of the reasons/factors that played into your decision as well as the costs associated to continue the service through the summer. How were these costs covered? 

Here are some of their responses:

At this time Baylor University does not provide Baylor University Shuttle (BUS) service during the summer or late at night. Demand for such services at these times is relatively low. Unique transportation needs are supplemented by some van and golf cart services provided by our department of Student Life. These solutions have worked very well for our campus.

Matt Penney, Director of Parking & Transportation Services
Baylor University

We do provide both, late-night and summer services. We operate a reduced service during the summer, going from 13 buses on six routes during the academic year to three buses on three routes during summer and winter breaks. We do not operate late-night during the summer. Late-night service operates only on Friday and Saturday nights during the academic year, until 2 a.m. We also reduce our student workforce by about 75 percent during the summer and winter breaks.

There are still many faculty and staff on campus during the summer and winter breaks, as well as students taking courses, conference and athletic camp participants, and families touring campus and attending orientation events. We do not operate late-night during summer and winter break because the overwhelming majority of resident students are not on campus during breaks. Costs to operate summer and winter break services are calculated into annual operating budgets.

Janet Freniere, Manager, Transportation Services
University of Connecticut

[IMAGE]CU-MTDTransit-Plaza-15-April62011-2.jpg[/IMAGE][The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District] (MTD) does indeed provide service to the University of Illinois campus during summer. All routes operate during summer, but at a reduced frequency (20 or 30 minute headways instead of 10 minute headways). Very late night service (after midnight) does not to operate during summer but service does run until midnight.

The primary reason for the reduced level of service is that there are far fewer students on campus during summer. MTD's high levels of campus service are funded by a combination of a student fee, paid each semester and endorsed by the students in a vote every three years, and a contract directly with the university. During the fall and spring semesters, MTD routes on and near campus operate at 10-minute frequencies and several operate nearly 24 hours per day.

Jan Kijowski, Marketing Director
Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District

Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority is launching a new high frequency bus route that uses a partial dedicated transitway through campus. The route will provide 10 to 15 minute service throughout the year in low-floor hybrid-electric vehicles from 6:30 AM to 8:30 PM.

The new route is in a densely populated area and service is warranted year-round. Flagstaff voters approved a transit tax at super-majority levels in 2008 to pay for half of the operating costs and the[Northern Arizona University] is paying the other half.

Jeff Meilbeck, GM
Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority

In summer months we only end service a little early on a couple of routes that have a little bit of overlap with other routes. You can still get everywhere on campus by bus/ short walk.

USF is a very active campus during summer, our ridership drops off some but there are three summer sessions and constant need for access to labs/library etc. We have a very large on-campus population and within a mile of campus. Many of our off campus populations are not in very walk able scenarios.

[IMAGE]NAUbuslinerenderingWeb-2.jpg[/IMAGE]Rick Fallin, Transit Manager
University of South Florida

We provide summer service, although we reduce the frequency of one of the routes from 15 to 30 minute frequency. Bus service ends at 9:30 p.m. year-around.

We do not have special routes that just serve campus; all of our routes that go through campus are also serving the general community. We reduce the frequency on one route, as noted above, as a cost saving measure because the demand drops during the summer. The costs of providing all our service are covered through federal, state, local subsidy, fares and miscellaneous revenues. The university does not contribute financially to cover the cost of our service.

Mary Gaston, Assistant GM
Muncie Indiana Transit System (MITS)

Yes, we do provide the on demand late night shuttle service on campus, and it is covered in the regular student transportation fees. We have many graduate students who still work late in the evening during the summer, even if they are not in regular classes but are here late to carry out their research. We don't run as many buses since ridership is down from 400 to 600 a night during fall and spring to about 100-plus during the summer. We don't provide regular night bus service during the summer.

Gary Graham, Director, Office of Parking, Traffic and Transportation Louisiana State University

Our housing shuttle does provide 24/7 service 7 days a week during the academic year. Then, in the summertime, for the housing facilities that are open, we provide different types of service that are essentially 24-hour coverage: during the daytime it's continuous service and at night it becomes a call-out service.

Scott Peak, Director, University Housing
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee








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