Transportation Advisory Board discusses changes for shuttles, Shop-N-Ride


Daily file photo by Lan Nguyen

Northwestern announced last month it would be discontinuing operations of its Campus Loop shuttle route this quarter. Now, students are trying to navigate affordable public transport around Evanston on their own.

Olivia Exstrum, Assistant Summer Editor

In response to student feedback, Northwestern’s shuttle routes will likely be updated next year to include new drop-off and pick-up locations.

The Shop-N-Ride Shuttle, which in the past took students to Evanston shopping centers including the Lincolnwood Town Center on select Sundays, will likely have a new route and new stops next year, said rising Medill junior Haley Hinkle, Associated Student Government director of transportation. This proposed change was made in part due to student response, she said.

“A lot of students were surveyed when we were trying to look into adjustments this spring,” Hinkle said. “A lot of students didn’t like certain stops on the route, so University Services has been working on finalizing a different route and different days and times to make it more convenient for students to use.”

When University Services and ASG surveyed students about the University’s transportation options last quarter, many students requested Saturday service for the Shop-N-Ride, earlier pickup times and service to Target and the Westfield Old Orchard Mall, said Marge Grzeszczuk, a manager for University Services.

The Transportation Advisory Board, comprised of undergraduates and representatives from University Services and the Division of Student Affairs, is working out the logistics of a Shop-N-Ride route change, Grzeszczuk said.

Before the routes are finalized, the board must present the changes to the city, she said. In addition, board members plan to make minor changes to the intercampus shuttle routes because of concerns that the buses were causing traffic backup.

The board plans to implement all changes by the start of Fall Quarter, Grzeszczuk said.

“Transportation is such a huge component,” she said. “It takes several months to figure out and get any approvals, but any changes we make will happen in September.”

In addition to changes to the shuttle system, Hinkle said the board has been discussing more effective ways to market the different transportation options the University offers to students.

“Making information about campus transportation readily available is a high priority for us,” Hinkle said. “We’re trying to brainstorm ways to centralize that information and try to make sure that the new class of freshmen and transfers can get it.”

Hinkle said student feedback served as the driving force behind the changes. She said a common response University Services receives from students is that they are often unsure of how to use the shuttles and other transportation services such as SafeRide, and of the most efficient way to do so.

Grzeszczuk said she thinks the changes will be well-received by students.

“I’m optimistic that it’ll be a positive change and that we’ll see an increase in ridership and demand for Shop-N-Ride,” she said.

Although she said the changes might not have an effect immediately, she said she is confident they will have a positive impact after students have settled in next year.

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