Shuttle service to add new features, routes for fall semester

Shuttle service to add new features, routes for fall semester

The Boise State shuttle transports students from building to building rain or shine. In the last 10 years shuttle driver Ronald Mowry has seen some significant changes to the system and he’s about to see some more.

Every few years the shuttle program gets a little different, whether it is the route that changes or the shuttles themselves.

Mowry currently drives one of the buses chartered through the Caldwell Transportation department but has driven the Boise State shuttle route for 10 years and can speak to the trends of shuttle riders.

“I see about 125 to 135 (riders) a day,” Mowry said. “A good day is 180.”

Shuttle usage increases when the weather is poor but remains around the 200 riders per shuttle mark. The Department of Transportation and Parking is looking to make changes that will increase ridership.

The shuttles currently operate for 24 hours a day. This week last year, the shuttle service served over 1,100 students, a hefty number, but Nicole Nimmons, executive director of Transportation and Parking Services, thinks that some changes can be made to increase ridership.

“We’re going to be doing something completely different,” Nimmons said. “We’re going to be leasing some larger buses and then we have our five buses and we’re going to have all of those wrapped.”

According to Nimmons, the wrap plan will change the design of the bus. They will be wrapped in orange, blue and silver to coordinate with the routes. Currently there are two routes in place, the orange route that rounds Boise Avenue and heads to Park Center. The blue route heads westbound down University and eastbound up Cesar Chavez Lane, doing a loop around campus.

Part of the new plans will add a third route, silver, that will travel from a new park and ride being built off of Vista Avenue. The silver route will also add new stops downtown.

“We have our park and ride going in between the Super 8 and the Holiday Inn; it’ll be about 130 parking spaces,”
Nimmons said.

The park and ride will open mid fall.

In addition to the new route, Transportation and Parking will be discontinuing Caldwell Transportation services and will be updating the mobile app.

“We have a mobile app currently that we will be making digital enhancements to,” Nimmons said. “People can follow our shuttles currently live off of our website link.”

Nimmons’s goal is to make the shuttle map more user-friendly and ultimately develop a ‘check-in’ feature that would allow students to alert drivers they are at a particular stop or signal the drivers to wait.

Many of the riders use the website and ride the shuttle daily. One such rider is Kenzie Stallings, junior geology major.

“I use the shuttle everyday a couple of times a day,” Stallings said. “It’s a lot easier to get across campus.”

Stallings usually catches the shuttle at the Environmental Research Building and rides to the Morrison Center, two buildings on opposite sides of campus.

“It’s really convenient,” Stallings said. “But I think it would be nice to have (more) shuttles run down the other side of
University.”

Transportation and Parking is looking for more feedback from students. They will be hosting a survey online and will be offering comment cards on the shuttle as the semester draws to a close.

Eryn Shay Johnson
Eryn Shay Johnson currently studies communication at Boise State University (BSU), she has been a higher education student since 2011, but is new to the Treasure Valley. Since moving to Boise, Johnson has jumped into her schooling with both feet, as a media emphasis student she has helped produce articles for the Idaho Press Tribune. Previously, Johnson worked as a special sections intern for the Post Register of Idaho Falls where she previously worked as a news intern. The Post Register helped publish many of Johnson’s works including her article “Good for the Soul: Group uses laughter as path to better health” which was picked up by the Associated Press in July 2011. Johnson has also served as an intern for the Times-News of Twin Falls. She now contributes stories to The Arbiter. As a student at BSU, Johnson aspires to graduate in Spring 2015. Following graduation she plans to continue her writing for news outlets, planning to grow all the while. Her dream is to write professionally for a major city newspaper, ultimately she wants to write a Pulitzer Prize winning piece. Johnson was a member of the Associate Students of the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) and served as both Advertising Senator and Off Campus Relations Senator. She graduated from CSI May 2013 with her Associate Degree in Communication Studies. She is a native of Idaho Falls and comes from a small family, her only sibling is her twin brother Damon who serves the United States Air Force.