New campus transit system launched
Correction appendedA new integrated campus transit system, TigerTransit, was launched Monday after a year of discussion between the Graduate Student Government (GSG), the USG and the Office of Parking and Transportation.
The free service, officially announced in November by Director of Transportation and Parking Services Kim Jackson, addresses the concerns of graduate students and Forbesians by adding five new lines that replace the three existing shuttle lines and the P-Rides Campus Shuttle. It also offers extended hours and an on-demand service.
This marks a significant departure from the previous system, in which only the Green Line serviced graduate housing, and grievances with the shuttle system spurred more than 350 Forbesians to sign an online petition in April 2008 requesting a shuttle stop at their residential college.
Numerous changes are geared specifically toward graduate students. An “express line” now runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., transporting commuters from the Graduate College, Lawrence Apartments and the Hibben/Magie Apartments to academic buildings on the eastern side of campus.
Additionally, a Campus Circulator now serves the Graduate College and Hibben/Magie Apartments from 9 p.m. to midnight.
Other new lines include the Forrestal/Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory Line to the Forrestal Campus and Millstone Apartments, and the West Line, which offers daily service to local shopping centers, Canal Pointe Boulevard and Princeton Theological Seminary. The Central Line travels from Lot 23 up Elm Drive, and the East Line goes from Butler Apartments, along Faculty and Washington roads, and around the Friend Center.
Though not all of these improvements, such as the West Line, are yet in place, the on-demand service is now active. A 14-passenger bus will arrive to transport users to any campus location or to the Princeton Junction train station within 10 minutes of a call requesting a ride. There are now three such buses, one operating from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and the other two from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. every night.
Additional improvements include connections to New Jersey Transit and the Princeton Borough FreeB shuttle and stops with more bus shelters.
Besides expanding routes, the system is designed to help the University reduce by 10 percent the number of cars on campus daily by the year 2020, one of the goals of the Sustainability Plan.
“The system will be efficient and reliable,” Jackson said, “so we’re hoping that [graduate] students will no longer feel that they have to drive.”
The buses, which currently run on diesel fuel, will be replaced by buses using B20 biodiesel fuel and featuring low floors and bike racks by September. The diesel buses will then be used as spares.
For this new system, budgeted at $3.2 million, the University entered into a 5.5-year contract with First Transit instead of using A-1 Limousine, the current provider for the P-Rides Campus Shuttle, because of cost considerations, Jackson said.
Jackson also noted that the current financial climate has not caused the University to scale back the program.
“It was unaffected because the University was very gracious about making sure there were funds available,” she said.
Jackson added that she is “certain that the University is and will remain committed to the service.”
Undergraduate students were generally content with the improved services.
“I can see myself using it when it’s freezing and class is far away,” Ashton Miller ’12, a Forbes resident, said.
Forbesian Will Ellis ’12 noted that the new service from Princeton Junction train station will be particularly helpful to him.
“Coming back from the city, for example, it’ll be really convenient not to have to worry about arriving before the Dinky stops operating,” he explained. “Other than that, though, I will probably just keep walking to class.”
Correction: A previous version of this article failed to mention that the USG collaborated with the GSG and the transportation department on launching TigerTransit.