Bus Hours Extended, NightOwl Cancelled

Busses pull out of Woodruff Circle. Photo by Jason Oh/ Staff
Busses pull out of Woodruff Circle. Photo by Jason Oh/ Staff

A new Cliff Shuttle schedule discontinued the NightOwl, extended service on the C Route to 12:30 a.m. and added one additional SafeRide bus from Thursday through Sunday, the result of customer feedback and the Student Government Association (SGA).

The changes went into effect Jan. 20 and were made to reflect customer needs, according to Adele Clements, senior director of Transportation and Parking Services.

An additional SafeRide bus was added Thursday through Sunday from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m, and the C-Toco Hills route will also now go round trip from Woodruff Circle to Clairmont Campus before heading to Toco Hills from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Additionally, service was extended on the D Express (DX) and M Route to midnight, and the hours for The Loop were extended to midnight on weekdays, according to Clements.

“Every semester we go through and look at routes, comments, performance, time of route and on time performance and ridership,” Clements said.

Clements explained that ridership was particularly low for the NightOwl. Students chose SafeRide late at night rather than the NightOwl transportation, so resources were reallocated from NightOwl to add an additional SafeRide shuttle to the schedule.

Clements also worked with SGA members such as Sophomore Representative, Campus Services Chair and College sophomore Max Zoberman, who said he has received feedback from students, specifically on nighttime transportation.

“I have had students telling me that they don’t feel safe using SafeRide. That is unacceptable,” Zoberman said. “[Clements] worked with me to find areas where the infrastructure used by Transportation department was not used efficiently, and we landed on NightOwl where ridership was underwhelming, whereas SafeRide demand was exceeding its capability.”

Zoberman noted that Emory Transportation took an inefficient and underused system and turned it into a new SafeRide system, cutting the wait time in half.

Students, faculty and staff received two weeks notice before the change went into effect.

There were announcements on the Emory Transportation website, Twitter and signs on Cliff shuttles themselves to inform riders ahead of time, according to Clements. She also noted that Transportation has received generally positive feedback from students.

“I encourage students to genuinely try it,” Zoberman said. “Try to think of SafeRide as not just a last resort, late at night when you’re in danger. But think of it as same comfortable way to travel safe at night like NightOwl. I want to emphasize the fact that the new SafeRide program does not reflect the disappearance of NightOwl but [a] merger of SafeRide and NightOwl.”

SGA and Transportation have also received complaints about inefficiency of the C-Toco Hills route and put changes into effect Jan. 17, according to Clements. The new route has increased the trips made between Woodruff Circle and Clairmont in comparison to Toco Hills to give students on Clairmont easier access to campus on the weekends.

However, now riders need to be aware of where exactly the Toco Hill shuttle is going when they are leaving Clairmont, according to College junior Sanjana Rao.

Rao said that she assumed the bus would go directly to Woodruff Circle but then went all the way to Toco Hills.

“I wasted a lot time and really did not like it,” she said. “But on the flip side, it is really beneficial if you plan it correctly.”

— By Sarah Husain, Contributing Writer

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