Harvard Transportation Services will add a 5:15 a.m. weekday shuttle from the Radcliffe Quadrangle to Harvard’s Allston athletic complex and incorporate the Inn at Harvard as a shuttle stop starting this fall, Director of Transit and Fleet Management David E. Harris Jr. announced Monday. Service during move-in week and senior week will also increase starting in the 2014-2015 academic year.
Harris outlined many of the changes, some of which will come as early as the Sunday of move-in week, in an email to Undergraduate Council Vice President Sietse K. Goffard ’15, which Goffard forwarded to a UC email list and to The Crimson.
Traditional weekend route service and two shuttles on the “1636’er” Quad-Mather route will be available for the first time during the late afternoon and night throughout the entire week before classes start and on Labor Day. The evening van service will also operate during that time period, excluding the holiday.
In addition, in the week leading up to Commencement in May, students will be able to take advantage of regular shuttle route service between houses and the Yard. And beginning Sept. 2, an additional 5:15 a.m. stadium run will be added to complement the 5:40 a.m. weekday route already in place.
In an interview with The Crimson, Harris described additional upcoming changes to the shuttle schedules and lauded the modifications, which he said were the result of collaboration with Associate Dean of Student Life David R. Friedrich and the UC.
Normal shuttle routes passing the river houses will begin incorporating the Inn at Harvard as a regular stop in an effort to accommodate Dunster House residents who will be living in the building as their house undergoes renovations, Harris said.
The updates add to many others that have been implemented in recent years after the Office of Student Life and UC partnered in 2012 to survey undergraduates on desired improvements to shuttle service.
The 2012 report, co-authored by Goffard and former Adams House representative Tyler J. Cusick ’14, did not explicitly recommend introducing shuttle service in the weeks before or after the official academic year, but did state “while not a top priority, there is a small need for early morning shuttle service between 4 a.m. and 5:40 a.m.” as one of its five recommendations to the OSL.
While Goffard acknowledged the slow pace of change in negotiating with Harvard Transportation Services, which has tried to incrementally recover from 2009 budget cuts, he described the most recent wave of changes as a “big positive step” in transportation improvements.
At the same time that the new offerings will be introduced, however, the 1:20 p.m. shuttle departure from Memorial Hall and 1:30 p.m. departure from the Quad will be eliminated, Harris said.
Harris added, however, that these modifications were chosen very carefully to offset costs, and that “statistics tell us that those [times] have lower ridership numbers.”
Harris further characterized the overall changes as a “win-win situation for everybody,” noting that the only added cost to the University will be that of fuel and non-labor-related expenses.
“We feel as if it’s a marginal amount of cost to get a significant increase in service,” he said.
Pforzheimer House resident and varsity swimmer Ty W. Rocca ’16 said Tuesday that he relies heavily on the shuttle to get to 6:30 a.m. morning practices, and that the new 5:15 a.m. will be helpful on certain occasions when the team needs to arrive at the pool earlier than usual.
But with a sharp increase in the number of swimmers living in the quad next year, Rocca said he wished the shuttle would offer similar early morning service to the stadium on weekends, especially during the winter.
“I think the 5:15 a.m. shuttle is good, but I think we could also use a weekend shuttle because people have morning practice on Saturdays,” Rocca said.
And while Goffard said the Council has not had much direct involvement in transportation conversations since he and UC President Gus A. Mayopoulos ’15 assumed their roles, Harris still commended the service he says the UC still provides.
“The Undergraduate Council continues to play more and more of a role in being a very effective medium...of getting student feedback to the Office of Student Life,” Harris said.
—Staff writer Noah J. Delwiche can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ndelwiche.