Shuttle service now includes hourly stops at South Campus

The Madison College campus-to-campus shuttle makes a recent stop at the South Campus.

The Madison College campus-to-campus shuttle makes a recent stop at the South Campus.

Jacob Ennis, Managing Editor

Repeated requests from students have brought a new route to the campus shuttle program. This semester marks the beginning of a shuttle running from the South campus on Park Street in Madison to the Downtown campus. While there aren’t many students that attend the South campus in comparison to the rest of the Madison College campuses, there are many who live within a short drive.

“The students who live in the South campus area and go to the South campus are dues paying (Commuter Services Fee) students, so they deserve a shuttle like other dues paying students,” said Colin Bowden, Student Senate president. Every student that attends a degree-credit class at any of the Madison campuses pays a $46 Commuter Services Fee, which supplements parking, Madison Metro bus passes and the campus-to-campus shuttles.

Being able to park at South and ride to Downtown, a student can save $3 in parking per three-hour class. At four days a week, that amounts to almost $50 every month in savings. That’s not even including money saved on gas.

The pick up and drop off times were set to coincide with the other shuttles for easier transfers, said Jackie Dahlke, Student Senate advisor. If traveling from the South campus to Truax, the total travel time with transfer can take as little as 45 minutes and up to an hour and five minutes depending what time you leave from the South campus. This is less time than taking the Madison Metro bus would be, and the drop-off spot at Truax is next to the Gateway entrance.

Of the few students who rode the shuttle in the beginning of the semester, may have noticed that it was rather empty. With the shuttle still new, many people hadn’t heard about it before the start of the semester.

Even though the Student Senate sent out an email with the shuttle schedule and mentioned the new South Shuttle, many students might not have been registered yet, and many just didn’t read it. Another reason is that classes at the South campus didn’t start until Jan. 27.

The last week has seen ridership more than double on the shuttle, which is important for anyone who intends to keep using it.

If the shuttle doesn’t get used enough, this may be the only semester that it exists. This happened to the West shuttle in the 2009-2010 school year. However, the shuttle was brought back due to demand.

“Like when any part of the shuttle started, it’s always a pilot. This semester is considered a pilot for South campus,” Dahlke said.

Ridership numbers come in every week broken down by the hour so Student Senate knows exactly how many people ride an at what times. The data also shows if the bus is full and if someone has to be left behind to ride the Metro bus.

“The hope always is, is if you provide a service it will be used,” Dahlke said. “The good problem to have is that there’s not room.”