A Dark Weekend for the 'Party Shuttle'

Party shuttle
Steven A Soto

On weekends, the Harvard shuttle is filled with students who use the bus system to travel to social gatherings across campus.

This weekend, when students climbed aboard Melvin Washington, Jr.’s evening shuttle bus that travels back and forth between the Yard and the Quad, they were not greeted by the customary strobe lights and thudding music, but rather an entirely party-less shuttle.

The bus, typically dubbed “the party shuttle,” has become an informal institution at the College—a weekend staple for many Quad residents. When the shuttle conspicuously did not operate this past weekend, students took notice.

In one of many emails sent over an email list for Currier House students, Wesley A. Gordon ’13 encouraged residents to protest the closing of the party shuttle by contacting Campus Services to express their discontent.

In the message, Gordon wrote that he had spoken with Washington about the closure of the party shuttle this weekend. Gordon declined to comment on the email.

Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesperson Jeff Neal wrote in a statement to The Crimson Wednesday that “there is currently no plan to eliminate or reconfigure the lights and music on the late night bus,” but that occasionally Transportation Services assesses the safety of its fleet.

“To that end, they are currently looking at this bus, as they periodically do, to ensure that the party elements as currently configured don’t pose any safety concerns,” Neal wrote.

Neal did not immediately respond to requests for comment Sunday on whether or not the party shuttle ran this past weekend.

Rumors about the possible closure of the party shuttle have concerned students at the College.

“I think it’s something people enjoy,” Rodriguez S. Roberts ’15 said. He said he would be “disappointed” if the shuttle was shut down.

Other students praised Washington and his attempt to improve the quality of student life with a party on wheels.

“The level of dedication Melvin brings to the job is unprecedented,” Nathaniel W. Donahue ’15 said. “He cares a lot about making sure people take the shuttle and making sure people get where they need to.”

Washington began operating the party shuttle in 2009 in hopes that the addition of entertainment—fun music and lighting—might entice students to take the bus rather than walk to and from the Quad.

“If you bring in some excitement the students will follow,” he said. “They seem to really enjoy it.”

Washington added that he believes Harvard students deserve to have some fun on the weekends.

“They need something after all the stuff they go through during the week,” he said.

—Staff writer Laya Anasu can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @layaanasu.

—Staff writer Elizabeth S. Auritt can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @eauritt.