Armed with some simple knowledge, the experience of going from A to B on the shuttles can be easy.
Each line is designated a color, and there are five. The Red Line travels from the bus loop near Fox Hall on East Campus to the front of O’Leary Library on South Campus. The Blue Line travels from North Campus, near the Riverside Parking Lot, to South Campus in front of O’Leary as well. The Orange Line travels from East to North Campus, and the Purple Line ushers commuters from 1001 Pawtucket Blvd to North Campus in much the same manner. Last but not least, there is the Yellow Line, which is split into North Campus and South Campus; each variation takes its passengers to and from the Inn and Conference Center to their respective campuses.
These lines are in operation every day of the week from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 7 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. During night and weekend hours, the main lines are reduced to Red and Yellow. They make stops at UCrossing and Riverview in addition to their normally scheduled routes.
Regular service during those hours is a wait time of around 10-15 minutes and the wait can be up to 25 minutes during peak rush hours. Rush hours are generally from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. If students are unsure about whether they should wait for the line or take another form of transportation, or if they simply want to know where their bus is, there is the RoadsterRoutes app, free for both Android and Apple devices. This app gives real-time information on where the buses are and was from the ground up.
“We actually went to our web design team within the university and said ‘Here’s this concept. Can you do it?’” said Karina Cruz, Assistant Director of Parking and Transportation Services. “They actually created a forward-facing application that interfaces with [the GPS system].” Newly installed televisions in Olney Hall, O’Leary, Fox Hall and UCrossing run along the same system and display the same information as the app, giving students additional on the go options. Aside from the slight delay expected from a system of this kind, RoadsterRoutes is accurate.
Those concerned about safety or those concerned about traffic during peak rush hours, more specifically in the afternoon to evening when the most traffic arrives, can be assured that Transportation Services does a good job of dealing with both.
“40-50 percent of our staff are CDL trained now,” says Nicholas Piscitello, Director of Administrative Services, “as well as going through a defensive driving course, they’ve gone through our rigorous training program…on maneuvers, how the vehicle operates, as well as preparing them for the DOT and state regulations and trainings.”
The buses have standard audio and video equipment as well and require a student I.D. to board during night hours. As for moving students around during rush hours, the department keeps a healthy number of drivers on the road to combat the traffic and construction that comes with the city. Though students may still encounter delays, it is important to remember that the shuttles work with the city in a give and take relationship.
“We’re making progress,” says Piscitello, “but we kind of have to live through the progress.”