Saturday shuttle to begin this weekend

Nathalie Tadena

Starting Saturday, Northwestern students can take an expanded shuttle service to popular stops in downtown Chicago as part of a pilot program during Fall Quarter, Associated Student Government President Neal Sales-Griffin said.

Dubbed the “Chicago Express,” the new shuttle will run each Saturday in October and November, picking up students at locations along the Purple Express route on Sheridan Road and making stops downtown near the Water Tower, the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier and several museums in the city.

“This is a safe and simple way for students to get access to one of the best resources this school has to offer,” Sales-Griffin said.

ASG’s external relations committee and the Undergraduate Budget Priorities Committee proposed the Saturday shuttles last Winter Quarter after receiving overwhelming student interest in an ASG poll, Sales-Griffin said. In April, the university announced it would fund the program, allocating $12,000 for the project. Sales-Griffin said the funds were supposed to sustain the shuttles for the entire academic year. With increasing fuel costs, however, the pilot program will only run during fall quarter.

The limited funding only allows for one bus to run approximately every one hour, forty minutes, said university services manager Marge Grzeszczuk.

“We receive a lot of regular requests for Saturday service,” she said. “Because this is a pilot program, we’re encouraging all students to utilize it.”

ASG will track how many students use the shuttles to help formalize a year-long proposal and secure funds.

“We’re still trying to figure out how to run shuttles efficiently,” Sales-Griffin said. “We’re not sure about the winter or spring yet; right now our focus is on the fall.”

Unlike the intercampus shuttle, the Chicago Express will not stop at the downtown campus, opting instead for popular downtown destinations.

This quarter, the Chicago Express will run from 4 p.m. until 11 p.m. on Saturdays with home football games. All other Saturdays, the shuttle will run from noon until 11 p.m. On certain days, the shuttle will follow a shortened route and only make selected stops. Like the intercampus shuttle, the Chicago Express will be free for NU students with WildCARDs.

See tomorrow’s DAILY for more.