UConn Transportation Services welcomes students back for the spring 2019 semester and has several new and exciting changes to the shuttle bus system to announce. These changes are being made based upon operational data collected throughout the fall semester, which included information submitted by the more than 700 respondents to our 2018 Fall Transportation Survey.*
The weekday Yellow Line route will change to the one preferred by 66% of our survey respondents. The new Yellow line will circle central campus and serve Lots “T” and “W” and the Horsebarn Hill Road area. Service will begin on Monday, January 21.
While many students enjoyed the convenience of weekend on-demand shuttle services during the 2018 fall semester, they only did so when those services were provided with little waiting time. Data collected during the fall semester showed that the on-demand weekend dispatcher facilitated more than 30 rides per hour during peak times, which is a call every two minutes. The growing demand for these services overwhelmed the operational limits of the system. Unacceptably long wait times regularly occurred. The uncertainty of the waiting periods made use of the service unpredictable. As a result, users regularly expressed their dissatisfaction and upset to the dispatcher, which introduced further delays and the quality of the on-demand services continued to decline.
Investigation of ways to improve the situation revealed that the costs to achieve an acceptable level of personalized on-demand shuttle service would exceed its community benefits. The appropriateness of funding individualized transportation services with student fees was debatable.
The decision was therefore made to provide Weekend shuttle service along two fixed routes. These routes feature coordinated transfers between the Student Union/Field House stops. This means that riders will be able to transfer between the two weekend lines without having to wait for a second bus. The new weekend routes will provide direct connections to more than 80% of the previously provided on-demand trips. The new Weekend service will run for the hours previously served by “Late Night” and “Weekend” services – between 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Fridays, from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. The service will begin on Friday, January 25.
A new bus tracker system is also being installed and will be ready for the start of the 2019 spring semester. The new tracking system will provide more accurate and useful information to riders and far better operational information to administrators. Together these improvements are expected to increase levels of efficiencies and rider satisfaction. Access to the new tracker will continue to be available via the MyUConn application, the method preferred by more than two-thirds of HuskyGo riders.
More than half a million faculty, staff and students boarded UConn shuttle buses during the fall semester, more than 10,000 passengers on particular rainy days! Keeping track of all those folks can be difficult. Transportation Services will therefore add automatic passenger counters to the University’s shuttle fleet vehicles during the 2019 spring recess. The data collected using these counters will allow for a more efficient and transparent operation of HuskyGo services.
Transportation Services is also working to set up an email listserv for use at the start of the 2019 spring semester. This is in response to the surprise discovery in the survey that most students said they would rather receive shuttle service information by email or the Daily Digest than via social media.
Finally, Transportation Services is exploring partnership opportunities with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the Windham Region Transit District (WRTD) with the objective of enhancing travel options to the University’s campuses and across the region.
Transportation Services is looking forward to additional opportunities to enhance the University’s transportation system in the future.
Additional updates will be published in the following locations:
Complete results of the 2018 Fall Transportation Survey are available on the Transportation Services website.