Tufts introduces Boston Avenue shuttle service
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 25, 2012 00:09
The Tufts administration announced last week that a shuttle service has been added along Boston Avenue to improve transportation for students.
The shuttle, run through Joseph’s Transportation, operates five days a week and stops at the Gordon Institute at 200 Boston Ave., Dowling Hall, the Science and Technology Center at 4 Colby St. and Halligan Hall. The service is separate from the Joey’s existing Davis Square route.
“There are more departments now down at 200 Boston Ave., and I think this helps to meet the need of bringing students from 200 Boston Ave. to their other locations,” Support Services Manager Sheila Chisholm said.
Students will also be able to use the shuttle to access 196 Boston Ave., which houses the Visual Analytics Laboratory at Tufts on the fourth floor, according to Computer Science Department Manager Gail Fitzgerald. Students of computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering and civil engineering use this space, she added.
“Computer science probably has a bigger percentage of people in that space than anyone else, but it is made up of a bunch of different people,” Fitzgerald said. “[The shuttle] is meant to bring the people that are involved in the research down there to be able to get back and forth between the spaces in a quicker manner.”
Chisholm said that faculty and staff from biology, chemical engineering, computer science and other departments advocated for the shuttle.
“We’ve had a large group of faculty and grad students with research space over at 196 and 200 Boston Ave., and they’ve just been dealing with getting back and forth on their own,” Fitzgerald said. “So having this shuttle, particularly when the weather is inclement, is going to make a huge difference for them as far as being able to get back and forth between the department and the research space, since it’s a little bit of a distance there.”
The Computer Science Department conducted a survey at the end of last spring to gauge student interest in such a shuttle service, and they received positive feedback, according to Fitzgerald.
“If it ran frequently enough, [the students] would be happy,” she said. “Also, it’s a safety issue for people working later in the evening.”
Members of the Computer Science Department brought the results from their survey to the Tufts Department of Public and Environmental Safety (DPES), who investigated the costs and held a number of meetings about the proposal, according to Fitzgerald.
Chisholm said that representatives from biology, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science and other departments attended the meetings and helped figure out the logistics of the shuttle. Research continued over the summer, she added.
According to Fitzgerald, the continuation of the shuttle will be based on student interest.
“They do monitor the ridership, so I’ve just been encouraging people, and we’ve been trying to get the word out that the shuttle’s here, here’s the schedule,” Fitzgerald said.
“We have the schedule, and we’ve advertised it through an email to students, and it’s about to go out to faculty and staff as well,” Chisholm said. “We’re in the process of really getting the word out there, and we expect the ridership to increase as we move along.”
Chisholm added that information about the shuttle is available in the Mayer Campus Center and in buildings along the route.
“I believe that it’s going to be a very successful program or addition to the shuttle service,” Chisholm said.
Yet, not every student at Tufts is as excited about the new service. Senior Benjamin Chamberlain, a chemical engineering major, believes that the new shuttle is not necessary on campus and has doubts about whether it will be popular.
“I think generally that the shuttle is kind of a waste of money and somewhat contrary to the school’s ... support of sustainability,” he said.
Chamberlain added that there is already a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus that runs along this route and that it could be more economically and environmentally conscious to buy T−Passes for students.
“I think that it does depend on the student use, but I’m not planning to use it, and I think a lot of people I know generally aren’t, so I don’t think it will last a very long amount of time,” he said.