Connecting campus: North Campus shuttle service begins
Washington University Parking & Transportation Services and Washington University Police Department (WUPD) are each introducing services to increase the connectedness and safety of North Campus and its surrounding neighborhoods.
Washington University Parking & Transportation Services introduced a new shuttle service which runs between Danforth Campus, North Campus and the neighborhoods of North Campus over the summer. WUPD also implemented a bike team to patrol both campus and off-campus areas.
According to Vice Chancellor for Operations & Technology Transfer Dedric Carter, the shuttle was introduced to fill a gap and connect North Campus to the rest of the Washington University community.
“North Campus is increasingly an important part of the campus,” Carter said. “If you look at populations there, and the populations that we have of students just north of North Campus, it makes sense looking at the data to say ‘How do we couple all the campuses together?’ I [say] that our job at Parking & Transportation, which reports into my office, is really to help people get to, through and around the campuses safely and efficiently.”
The North Campus Shuttle runs every 30 minutes between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Stops on the route include: Skinker and Forest Park Parkway; the Mallinckrodt Bus Plaza; Trinity and Washington; Washington and Melville; the Lofts and Olive and Skinker.
Junior and Lofts resident Clarinda Tan is concerned with the 7:00 p.m. shuttle service end time.
“I’m interested to see if Parking & Transportation will adapt the route or hours the shuttle runs as the school year progresses,” Tan said. “[It] might be difficult [for students], because some classes and extracurriculars don’t end until after seven.”
Carter said that Parking & Transportation Services would be open to extending the hours of operation in the future.
“As we look at this and we see what the user base is and what the user needs are, we can look at all of our areas to say ‘How can we tweak this to be right?’ Think looking at things like the Circulator where we extended hours or Campus2Home where we grew the reach of that, and that was all driven by if we look at the need then this is where we need to go.”
Washington University Police Department (WUPD) Chief of Police Mark Glenn said that the North Campus Shuttle will also help with student safety.
“Anytime we can increase different options for students to transit back and forth from campus, I think improves safety in the area,” Glenn said. “It’s a shuttle that’s only used for our community, so it’s a more closed system. It’s got a very designated route so they can keep on time.”
Heading into the semester, WUPD will also be taking more precautions to ensure student safety, especially in off-campus areas.
“A large number of our officers work in the off-campus neighborhoods. They’re available to those students at any time to help with that,” Glenn said. “As always, but even more so during move in, we’re very active and increase a few of the patrols at the beginning of the school year, like we normally do. One new program that have this year, that students will see, is we have a dedicated bike team that will be patrolling on campus as well as neighborhoods off campus. So you’ll see Wash. U. officers on a pretty regular basis riding their bikes throughout the neighborhoods.”
The bike team officers will patrol from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. WUPD also has the ability to readjust the team for directed or hotspot patrols if they see an area with an increased need for patrols.
The North Campus Shuttle will be one of the wrapped vans when the new shuttle designs debut in September. The Washington University community was invited to vote online for new shuttle designs in May. Parking & Transportation Services announced the winning design, a red background with ‘WashU’ on the sides and back, earlier this summer. Smaller campus vans will feature the second-place design winners, which were ‘WashU’ and ‘Go Bears’ pennants on a red background.
According to Carter, the decision to wrap the shuttles came about as the University started thinking about what a new fleet of shuttles should look like, as they were coming to the end of their shuttle contract.
“I think it was a plan, it was opportunistic, it was a point in time where we could do something to give a fresh new face to the shuttle program and it partly underscores the hopeful increase in service and efficiency around that program,” Carter said. “I think the second thing is that it’s always nice to have something that shows some school spirit. Go Wash. U.”