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Large New Bus Joins Shuttle Fleet

Quad Residents Are Looking Forward to More Comfortable Rides

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Shuttle bus overcrowding will likely be alleviated in the coming weeks as a new, white Blue Bird-model bus joins the fleet, replacing a smaller, red Thomas Body Bus.

The addition is part of a vehicle replacement program begun this year, according to Peter M. Witt, general manager of Shuttle and Fleet Management Services.

"Like any other piece of equipment you might have, it's only prudent to begin to replace it [when it becomes] less cost effective," Witt said.

The new bus carries roughly 50 students, nearly double the passenger capacity of the older buses. Its two doors should also increase accessibility.

"Some students were experiencing problems with overcrowding at Currier," said Witt, citing a survey conducted by his office last year in which students complained about the infrequency of routes and standing-room-only conditions.

Witt said the primary reason the older buses were replaced was their age. But students said enhanced capacity is the greatest benefit of the new buses.

"Everyone and their grandmother is fighting to get a shuttle," said Currier resident Aelaf D. Worku '98, lamenting her experience with crowding on the smaller shuttles.

"I love the big new shuttle!" said Jenny D. Gootman '98, as she rode on a Blue Bird bus that was installed last year.

This is the second of three replacements planned so far.

Next October, a smaller Blue Bird, called the Mini Bird, will replace yet another Thomas bus.

The buses are leased directly from the manufacturer at an undisclosed cost.

Though age is the primary reason for the replacement, Witt said the Thomas buses that remain in the fleet pose no safety hazard and are reliable.

But the Blue Bird buses are a great leap in quality, according to Witt, who likens it to moving "from a Chevrolet to a Cadillac."

Driving the new, larger buses is more difficult, said one shuttle driver who has a special endorsement from the Massachusetts DMV which allows him to drive the larger buses.

He said the new bus "is fine," expressing no preference.

Kimberly A. Arkin '98 said she hopes the buses will not be the only additions.

"It's a good thing only in conjunction with a revision of the shuttle schedule," she said.

No additional routes will be added during this year, and the shuttle service staff has not discussed next year's schedule

Kimberly A. Arkin '98 said she hopes the buses will not be the only additions.

"It's a good thing only in conjunction with a revision of the shuttle schedule," she said.

No additional routes will be added during this year, and the shuttle service staff has not discussed next year's schedule

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