Students adjust to new shuttle schedules, routes
UH parking and transportation aim to improve service by putting campus shuttles on timed schedules and modifying routes this semester. Joint ventures with AFC Corporate Transportation and Metropolitan Transit Authority will provide new resources and technology like online shuttle tracking and a passenger counting system.
‘The system worked, but at times the headway between buses would disappear and two buses would be at the stop at the same time, resulting in a long wait until the next bus would arrive,’ said Bob Browand, director of parking and transportation.’ ‘ ‘This made it hard, at times, for students to plan their trips.’
Parking and transportation assigned an additional bus to Tan route, which serves the East Transit Center (ETC) where students can transfer to and from Metro buses. The changes to the route cuts service time to the ETC in half, with shuttles making a rotation in 12 minutes.
‘More Cougars are taking mass transit to and from work and school,’ Browand said. ‘Parking and transportation has been working closely with Metro to increase usage by the campus community.’ Prior service to the ETC was limited and had too long of a headway between buses to make it an attractive option for commuters.’
‘ The Garage/Circulator route runs clockwise this semester instead of counterclockwise to eliminate left turns on busy streets.
‘ ‘Eliminating the left hand turns not only made the route safer to drive,’ Browand said, ‘but also shortens the time it takes to make a trip around campus.’
Shuttles have also been placed on a timed schedule designed by parking and transportation.
‘In the past the shuttle buses ran on a continuous loop concept. Upon completion of one loop, it immediately began another without regard to time or bus spacing,’ Browand said. ‘The timed schedule eliminates this and will make the service more reliable.’
The modifications have required comprising some routes. Expanding Tan route meant combining Satellite Parking route, which shuttled students directly to and from the parking lot on the corner of Wheeler Street and Scott Street last semester, with one shuttle from Blue route, which takes students to and from Cambridge Oaks, Cullen Oaks and to outlying economy parking lots on Cullen Boulevard.
‘I liked it better when it was Satellite only,’ said Calvin Williams, Satellite/Blue route shuttle driver. ‘This change is messing with a lot of peoples’ schedule.”
Browand is working with AFC, the shuttle and driver provider of the campus shuttle service, to see how the new schedules and routes work over the next weeks.
‘So far, (AFC) has been nothing but supportive,’ Browand said. ‘Right now they are testing the time schedules we developed to make sure they are realistic. We will make any adjustment to the times based on their recommendations.’
Future plans include the addition of bus shelters around campus in an effort to work with Metro to provide shared bus stops.’ Metro will also help institute a bus tracking system to allow parking and transportation to view bus locations online and project arrival times. A passenger counting system will be used to make adjustments to routes and times that are reflective of actual usage.
Names of routes will also be updated to better identify the area of campus they serve. New signage and electronic messages on the shuttle buses will be put in place in the next two weeks, but the color coding for each route will remain the same.’ The Garage/Circulator will become Campus Loop, Tan route will become the Eastwood/Business Park Line, Red route will become the Robertson Line, Blue route will become Oaks/Satellite Line and the Purple route will become Bayou Oaks Line.
Currently, most shuttle services run Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and on Fridays, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
‘There may be some changes when the metro light rail arrives,’ Browand said, ‘but for now this is all we have planned.’