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The month-old 24-hour shuttle service has been extended through March in order for the administration to collect more data about student use, according to College officials.
“At the end of February, we had 26 days of data and we needed a bit more to see if the service was being used and when it was being used,” said Assistant Dean of the College Paul J. McLoughlin II, who, along with Associate Dean of the College Judith H. Kidd, made the decision to extend the service.
The shuttle, which used to end daily service at 12:30 a.m. on weekdays, originally began running on the new schedule Feb. 4 in response to student requests and safety concerns for students walking alone late at night.
In the first month of the trial period, some shuttle-use patterns emerged. According to McLoughlin’s cumulative statistics for the month of February, there were 1,100 total shuttle users between 1 a.m. and a.m.; there were only six riders for the entire month between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m.
McLoughlin also said that there is a large disparity in the popularity of different stops late at night, with Currier House and Johnston Gate as the two most popular stops and Memorial Hall and Winthrop House among the least popular stops.
But McLoughlin said he still does not have enough data to draw any conclusions.
“I’m not sure if we will continue to operate [the shuttle] 24 hours a day, 24 hours Friday and Saturday, or Friday and Saturday before 4 a.m.” McLoughlin said.
Despite low ridership at times, student leadership remains strongly in support of the 24-hour schedule.
“I still think that providing a shuttle service at all hours of the day is something of value to the community,” Undergraduate Council President Matthew W. Mahan ’05 said.
But Mahan added that low ridership could jeopardize the 24-hour schedule.
“We have to work on publicizing the service to see if numbers increase. If ridership remains extremely low after more time then maybe we should do some cost benefit analysis.”
While the College has expanded its shuttle service, students have complained recently about the malfunction of the popular Shuttletime website, which provides information about shuttle schedules.
The website went down after being attacked by a number of viruses which have plagued the Harvard network, said Carl A. Tempesta, operations manager for passenger transport and fleet management services.
The Shuttletime website has been temporarily posted at www.secondkiss.com/harvard/, although www.shuttletime.harvard.edu is working on computers outside of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences network, Tempesta said.
Around 20 students have e-mailed Harvard’s transportation services complaining about the inability to access the site, Tempesta said.
Some students described the website problems as a major inconvenience.
“The paper schedules, I find, are not very easy to read at all. I usually wind up looking at the tables for a good while before finding the info I need,” Matthew J. Kozlov ’04 said.
Despite the online difficulties, numbers of riders on the shuttle have not declined, Tempesta said.
—Staff writer Joshua P. Rogers can be reached email@example.com..
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