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All Aboard! BU Shuttle Gets a Face-lift

New buses carry more, offer better disabled access


The University’s shuttle service between the Charles River and Medical Campuses (known as the BUS) has gotten a new look, some bigger buses, and easier boarding and disembarking, including for disabled passengers.

As a result of changing service providers from Peter Pan to Academy Bus, the new eight-bus fleet includes three 60-foot-long “articulated” (accordion) buses. Carrying 98 passengers each, including standees, the articulated buses have more capacity than the old buses, which held 60 people each (the capacity of the rest of the new fleet). But even the smaller new buses accommodate standees better than the old ones. “The layout of the seats on the new buses creates more standing space, so people shouldn’t feel as cramped while traveling,” says Dwight Atherton, director of Parking & Transportation Services.

The new buses have other advantages as well. “The vehicles in the old fleet accommodated wheelchair users via hydraulic lifts, which were prone to failure,” says Atherton. The new buses have lower floors, which allows wheelchair-bound people “to board either from the curb or via a mechanical ramp that can be manually operated if necessary.”

Atherton says the fleet has lower pollution emissions and gets better gas mileage than its predecessors and also carries on-board location tracking equipment.

The exterior of each bus, designed by BU’s Creative Services staff, features one of two phrases, “13 Stops. One BU” or “Who Will You Be Sitting Next To?” both meant to evoke aspects of the University’s character. The former phrase “speaks directly to BU’s strategic plan for institutional cohesion,” says Courtney Holloway, account executive with Creative Services. The latter signifies “that there isn’t one typical BU student: instead, the variety and distinction among the student body is what makes BU.”

The bus schedule remains unchanged from last year, but there are two route changes. On weekdays, a stop in front of the College of Fine Arts, at 855 Commonwealth Ave., will replace the Buick Street stop. And inbound service this year begins (and outbound service ends) at 33 Harry Agganis Way. (The inbound stop at Comm Ave.’s intersection with Harry Agganis Way has been eliminated.)

With the fall schedule, which resumed August 29, six buses ferry passengers during the morning and evening rushes (7 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 8 p.m.). Three buses operate during off-peak hours. Late-night and weekend service, which resumed September 3, is as follows:

Sunday, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Monday to Wednesday, 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Thursday, 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.; Friday, 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.; and Saturday, 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

5 Comments on All Aboard! BU Shuttle Gets a Face-lift

  • Jack K. on 09.08.2011 at 8:54 am

    I like the new look WAY better than the old one, which was cheesy.

  • Dan Essrow on 09.08.2011 at 10:43 am

    Looks great! Awesome job, Sarah & John! (Mostly Sarah)!

  • Alex R. on 09.08.2011 at 5:29 pm

    They do look awesome, but I guess perfect grammar is not part of the university’s character else it should read “Whom…”!!

  • Sarah on 09.09.2011 at 12:15 am

    So will the M-F bus and the late night bus run at the same time for a little bit? On the BUS schedule page it says the last M-F bus leaves West Campus at 11:00 but the late-night bus page says the first leaves around 10:00. How would we know what route we’re on?

    Thanks so much for all the great new things! I’m so excited about the TransLoc page and the new stop at Kenmore Street!

  • Rachel on 09.15.2011 at 10:30 pm

    Do you know what happened to the old buses? Is there a possibility they could be rented out for club sports teams games/competitions? Who would be the right person to contact about this?

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