Shuttle Shift

Cassie McHugh

The University’s Parking and Transportation Office unveiled a number of changes to both on-campus and off-campus shuttle services for the 2018-19 school year upon students’ return to campus this semester.

Notable alterations include an added stop for the off campus shuttle near the McDonald’s and CVS in Rosemont, additional stops at Home Properties of Bryn Mawr, the popular off-campus housing choice of seniors more commonly known as “Home Props,” and an earlier start time for the weekend shuttle to the King of Prussia mall. 

Linda Lindley, the Assistant Director of Parking and Transportation for the University, said she used data that she collected last year along with feedback from students to make the adjustments based on when and where students were—or weren’t—frequently using the shuttle. 

For example, the off-campus shuttle route previously included a stop at Rosemont College. Lindley was able to use the data to prove that few students ever used the stop, which was eliminated from this year’s route. 

In its place is a new stop near the McDonald’s and CVS in Rosemont. Lindley said that in addition to providing students who need prescriptions or other products from the pharmacy, the stop is designed to meet the needs of a number of graduate students who live at the Rosemont Plaza.

“They said by the time they walked to Home Props to get on the shuttle, they might as well just (have) walked to campus,” Lindley said.  

Another major change that sparked concern from some students is the elimination of late night hours for the on campus shuttle. The shuttle, which previously ran until after midnight on weekdays, now makes its last stop at 9:00PM.    

Lindley said the new hours are not meant to eliminate late night transportation on campus, but rather to make room for something new. The transportation office is finalizing plans to introduce a new service, called ‘Nova Van on Demand,’ which will provide weekday late night, on campus transportation for students. 

The office has tentative plans to introduce the service in October. Ultimately, the office hopes the new service could even be implemented to provide late night transportation for students off campus, but that decision will depend on the success of the on-campus services.  

In the meantime, Lindley said students are encouraged to download or update the Nova Safe app to request a security escort if they feel uncomfortable walking home at night after the shuttle stops running. The app also received an update over the summer, and additionally allows students to track the shuttles in real time.   

Many of the other changes Lindley made were to the weekend shuttle schedules. The Saturday Main Line shuttle, which formerly only picked up students at South Campus, now makes stops at both the Connelly Center and at Home Props. The timing of stops at both the King of Prussia mall and Suburban Square were also adjusted based on when those establishments close. 

As for her office’s other major undertaking, parking, Lindley said she and her colleagues recognize the challenges that students, especially those commuting, face when parking on campus.

The office instituted event email communications last year to advise commuter students of higher than average visitor attendance in advance. 

Lindley also said she hopes that the efforts made to reorganize the off-campus shuttle route will help to increase ridership and decrease the number of vehicles being driven to campus daily.  

Lindley said she encourages students who experience issues with parking or shuttle services to reach out to the office so that she and her colleagues are able to help to resolve them.

“If you guys don’t let me know where the issues are, I can’t fix it,” Lindley said. “I need your complaints to be able to say ‘this needs to be addressed.’”