Campus Shuttle: An Alternative to CATA
It’s a smooth, quiet ride with regulars who are on a first-name basis with the driver. And despite the Christmas music playing over the radio (far too early in the season), it has a lovely atmosphere for travelling. I’m talking, of course, about the little-known campus shuttle.
The shuttle is free to passengers and is run by the university. It runs from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at 15 minute intervals at each stop. It runs whenever the university is open, including during summer session.
I got on at the bus stop at the corner of College and Allen while the shuttle was sitting to stay on schedule. You can find the shuttle route/schedule here. As you can see, another plus of the shuttle is that it’s route runs up by the Law Building and IM fields, somewhere CATA doesn’t go.
Because the shuttle takes a loop up around the Law Building, my driver, Ken Klinefelter, said certain groups are regulars. For example, Blue Band students ride the shuttle often in the fall to get to the Blue Band Building and agriculture students take it to the ag and dairy buildings north of that. Klinefelter also added that many employees use it to get to Support Buildings 1 and 2.
And my first shuttle ride was to get home from Lion Surplus, which is also located by the Blue Band Building.
Law students also frequent the shuttle, and a number of them got on when it stopped at the Law Building just after 4, presumably after a long day of studying.
Instead of an electonic notification system like on the CATA buses, when a passenger wants to get off they simply offer a much more personal “Can I get the next stop, please?” This, combined with the much smaller number of passengers, gives the ride a more intimate feeling. In fact, those who often ride the shuttle will see regulars from time to time, Cindy Dorin, a university employee and frequenter of the shuttle, said. Sometimes drivers will become familiar with passengers and get to know where their usual stops are, with some passengers coming to know drivers by a first-name basis, Dorin said.
Passengers like Dorin learned about the shuttle through work, since it provides the most convenient mode of transportation for them. Another passenger told me she learned of it through her internship with University Press in Support Building 1, since it is the most convenient way to get there. Another rider said he simply saw one of the signs on campus and when a shuttle pulled up he got on. Others heard about it through word of mouth.
So if you’re looking for a quicker, nicer ride than CATA, or need to get to the area north of campus by the Law Building, try the campus shuttle. It’s one of the best kept non-secrets on campus.