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Taking the BU Shuttle?

If you want to take the BUS, bring your BU ID


BU Shuttle (BUS) riders get ready: you will now need your BU ID to board the bus.

The new ID campaign is an effort to limit access to the shuttle to BU faculty, staff, and students, eliminating access by those outside of the BU community. Recent concerns voiced by BU-affiliated shuttle riders prompted the change, says Billy Hajjar, director of BU’s Parking and Transportation Services. “It is a matter of making sure every possible space on the buses goes to a BU community member,” says Hajjar, “especially during peak periods of service, when the buses are full, and addressing the safety concerns of those BU community members using the BUS.”

The shuttle, which runs between the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus, is a private service that is free to those with a valid BU ID.

Starting Tuesday, April 1, periodic checkpoints will be set up at two of the most heavily trafficked stops on the shuttle route. ID checks will be in force at 33 Agganis Way in the mornings and at 710 Albany Street on the Medical Campus at night. The checkpoints will be random and could expand to other stops on the route, Hajjar says. They will take place before the BUS arrives. “There will be one or two staff members from the parking and transportation office screening for proper identification of those waiting for the BUS, similar to what the MBTA does at the high-volume aboveground stops of the Green Line B trolley,” says Hajjar.

In addition, riders getting on and off the shuttle at the Huntington Avenue stop will be required to access through the front bus door only, so that drivers can randomly check IDs. ID at other stops will be checked at the discretion on the driver.

Passengers can expect to see signs on the buses stating that the service is private, intended for Boston University affiliates only, and that proper ID is required. “The most important thing for the BU community to know is to have their IDs ready and available in case they are asked to show it, to better expedite entry to the BUS and get to their destination in a timely fashion,” says Haajjar. “We have enough challenges with traffic situations impacting the BUS schedule. We do not want these enforcement efforts to compound the problem. These random checks will not slow the service in any way, so long as people have their IDs readily available.”

He says that there will be some leniency for those who forget their BU IDs as riders adjust to the new enforcement policy. “As we begin this process, those who state that they have forgotten their ID will be able to get on the shuttles and will simply be asked to bring their ID in the future,” says Haajjar. “Unusual compliance patterns will become apparent over time.”

The BU Shuttle (BUS) provides transportation between the Medical Campus and Charles River Campus for students, faculty, and staff with a valid BU ID. It operates between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. weekdays. Service on weekends and late nights is limited to the Charles River Campus. Check here for schedules, shuttle maps, and service updates.


54 Comments on Taking the BU Shuttle?

  • Anonymous on 03.28.2014 at 1:09 am

    What a waste of time… The real answer is for BU to get off their wallets and get more buses/drivers.

    • n on 03.28.2014 at 10:13 am


  • Cassandra on 03.28.2014 at 9:06 am

    Sometimes parents travel with their kids to appointments in the morning, e.g. (BU Dental) the shuttle has become a very convenient way of making these appointments on time. Can parents no longer do this?

    • Kate on 03.28.2014 at 1:51 pm

      There are a number of medical shuttles that are available for patients in different areas of town that are explicitly for this purpose.

  • Me on 03.28.2014 at 9:16 am

    What about BU guests????

  • Anonymous on 03.28.2014 at 9:47 am

    This is literally one of the dumbest ideas BU could have. “It won’t slow things down.” That’s a joke. And what happens when students bring guest and want them to get on? Or someone is carrying a lot of items with them and doesnt want to drop everything just show their id. I understand that the BUS get full quickly but 9/10 times it’s packed with BU students. Wtf BU. Why not spend your effort fixing something that ACTUALLY needs to be fixed?

    • BU 2011 on 03.30.2014 at 3:16 pm

      As a sign of protest, maybe you and your friends can ride public transportation. That will show ’em!

  • Mo on 03.28.2014 at 10:08 am

    So glad to hear they are now FINALLY asking for IDs. As a parent, I like knowing that eveeryone on BU buses belong on the buses. Guests should be permitted though.

  • n on 03.28.2014 at 10:15 am

    1. how does bu know that ppl who are not affiliated with bu are riding the bus? or are we just judging?

  • J on 03.28.2014 at 10:22 am

    So, the BU bus is not slow enough? Lets make it even slower. Brilliant.

    • common sense on 04.02.2014 at 10:00 pm

      It’s slow because of traffic. If you have your ID ready when you get on, it won’t slow it down more

  • Ari Gold on 03.28.2014 at 10:34 am

    How bout the fact that kids need to get to class and shouldn’t have to waste time doing this.

  • Jen on 03.28.2014 at 10:38 am

    Yep this will literally solve NOTHING. Non-BU people riding the bus is NOT the issue. They need to get rid of the single buses, only use the double length ones and add more buses to the schedule. Riding the shuttle has become an awful experience and I wish I had decided to live closer to the med campus so I could avoid it.

  • Billy Hajjar - Director of Parking & Transportation Services on 03.28.2014 at 10:40 am

    As always, guests of a BU affiliated rider may accompany this person regardless of their affiliation.

    • Alum on 04.01.2014 at 11:19 am

      Can you please comment on the questions about alumni below?

  • Anonymous on 03.28.2014 at 11:10 am

    Complaints from the shuttle riders, or complaints from the city of Boston who’s mad that they’re losing profits on the MBTA Bus to the BUS?

  • Nick on 03.28.2014 at 11:26 am

    This is one of the more moronic idea’s BU has ever had.

  • Appreciate it! on 03.28.2014 at 11:52 am

    Thanks for doing this. Its uncomfortable riding with people who are not BU yet feel they are entitled and crowd the bus during peak periods. In my experience, the drivers are reasonable and nice people; I have no concerns about bringing a visitor or family member on the shuttle because this is occasional use which is not the intent of this policy change.

    • Annoyed Boston College Student on 03.28.2014 at 2:39 pm

      How is it uncomfortable for you exactly? For those of us that go to college in boston but don’t go to bu, this bus is the safest and most convinent way to visit our friends at bu… obviously it would make no sense for them to take the bu bus to huntington ave and then wait for us and then take another bus back with us.

      change it back please

      • Smarter Child on 03.28.2014 at 4:15 pm

        To everyone complaining…This is a clear example of a non-BU person admitting that they ride the bus.

        The BU Shuttle is a private bus paid for by our tuition dollars. Thank you to BU for their efforts to make all available space on the bus available to BU affiliates.

        • BU Student on 03.29.2014 at 9:27 am

          I am a BU student and I see no problem with non-BU students riding the bus. Boston University often extends events to the public, and those who want to attend these events will now be unable to take BU transportation to get there. For example, the Salsa Club here has public meetings, and a few of the members live in Allston, so why shouldn’t they be able to take the bus?

          Second, the majority of the bus’ occupants are students. Preventing others from boarding isn’t so much of an issue as the sheer number of students. BU is a huge university, with enough people to populate a small town. It’s not surprising that our buses are full during peak transportation hours.

          Finally, checking IDs will take a ton of time. To give an example, think of when fire-alarms are pulled in any of the dorms. Each person has to swipe in and show his/her ID, to a guard, or in this case, a bus driver. While this process individually takes little time, when it is multiplied by 20, 30 students all boarding at marsh? It’ll definitely slow things down a significant amount.

          I therefore highly encourage more BU shuttles in lieu of removing others from our shuttles. And to those who think that this is a safer environment, and that it is better for everyone who is on the bus to be from BU: Nothing bad has ever happened on the bus. No one heckles us- most of the time no one talks to you. Even if this were to take place, what would ever happen if you stepped foot on the T? We will always encounter strangers at BU. We live in a city, we should expect it. Avoiding it on the BU Bus won’t make you or your child more safe. I believe we are removing community members who haven’t done anything wrong from our transportation system and lengthening the process.

      • Cylde Biggums on 04.08.2014 at 7:42 am

        What BC student goes to Huntington to get to BU? You would be better off WALKING down Comm Ave at that point…smh

  • lisa on 03.28.2014 at 11:54 am

    Yo the bus is slow enough as it is, this is literally just going to make it more frustrating. Also this is a blow to Northeastern students who use the bus to commute to BU for groups they participate in.

    • Jane on 03.29.2014 at 8:34 am

      Why do you think you’re entitled to the BUS when it’s OUR tuition dollars that pay for it? Get on the T. There are three or four stops along BU alone. The BUS is not for you.

  • Olivera on 03.28.2014 at 12:21 pm

    This is totally unnecessary. Please reconsider as this does not make any sense. I have been riding shuttle for many years and there have always been BU community only on the bus. The service recently expanded resulting in an unfortunate fact that bus often runs with just a few passengers. It is crowded only at students’ rush hours.

  • Billy Hajjar - Director of Parking & Transportation Services on 03.28.2014 at 1:21 pm

    With respect to increasing the number of articulated (larger) buses during peak operation, I am happy to announce that we are in the process of replacing a 60 passenger (smaller) bus with another 100 passenger articulated bus which has just become available. This will occur in the coming weeks.

    • Anon on 03.28.2014 at 6:07 pm

      Thank YOU!! The small buses are very frustrating so this change is most welcomed.

    • First name on 03.28.2014 at 8:26 pm

      Why not keep both and operate more frequently? You’ve spent the money for both buses already and paying the driver is negligible compared to the cost of the bus.

      • Billy Hajjar - Director of Parking & Transportation on 03.29.2014 at 10:20 am

        We’ve not paid the money for both buses already.

  • Billy Hajjar - Director of Parking & Transportation Services on 03.28.2014 at 1:37 pm

    The complaints and concerns received have come from faculty and staff riders, student riders and even parents of student riders of the BUS; all claiming that the shuttle is being used by non-affiliates of Boston University and asking what we intend to do about it. The cost of providing the BUS service is substantial and we have a responsibility to make sure that as much of the BU community gets to make use of this service as possible.

    • Smarter Child on 03.28.2014 at 4:10 pm

      Thank you

  • Bill on 03.28.2014 at 2:25 pm

    Based on the routes taken, the amount of non BU affiliates who could benefit from the BU bus has to be small. Who else needs to go from StuVi2 to St. Mary’s? Not enough people to warrant the hassle checking IDs is going to cause.

    The real problem is that it is difficult to quantify any return on investment BU would make from expanding service by buying more buses. It’s a major pain for us students, does that mean that we’ll stop paying tuition, or that applicant numbers will drop? Probably not. But I guess BU is looking out for us right??

  • Anonymous on 03.28.2014 at 3:23 pm

    This is another example of BU being out of touch with the community that it is in. It wouldn’t kill BU to actually give back the people of Boston.

    – BU student

    • Carlos on 03.30.2014 at 12:52 pm

      Are you kidding me?!? You mean take away funding sources from the MBTA by providing FREE BUS service to non-BU affiliated people (not to mention some of these free-loading riders are sketchy) when the buses are already crowded enough?!?! You must not really be a BU student!

  • Mariam on 03.28.2014 at 3:28 pm

    Will we be scanning/swiping IDs, or will it just be an eye-check? Is this available to students who live off-campus?

    • Anon on 03.28.2014 at 6:09 pm

      I’m pretty sure it’s an eye-check. The fact that you have a BU ID with your face on it shows that you’re associated with BU, and that’s all they care about. They’re insane if they’re limiting it to people living on campus.

  • Karolina on 03.28.2014 at 3:35 pm

    I don’t think I have ever encountered a non-BU student on the shuttle. Occasionally, I could imagine those who live in Kenmore who need to get to the South end might take the BU shuttle, but the trips to Med campus are rarely crowded. This is silly and often students who take the bus are trying to get to class in 10 minutes or less. This will definitely cause delays. If the shuttle can barely stay on its schedule as is, how will it manage with the extra time to check IDs?

    • Jess on 03.30.2014 at 12:45 pm

      That’s not true – trips to/from the Med campus can be very crowded (sometimes they won’t allow everyone to get on), especially around peak times. I’ve noticed a lot of non-BU people get on/off at Huntington ave, so it makes perfect sense that they will check IDs randomly at that stop. It seems that most people complaining in these comments primarily ride the shuttle on the CR campus, but for those of us who go to/from the Med campus, we sometimes witness questionable people getting on the shuttle that make us uncomfortable particularly at night. That being said, I am very glad that they will be doing these ID checks to ensure the safety of BU students.

      Also, I don’t know why everyone is complaining that checking IDs will make the buses run slower, when they’ve clearly stated that most ID checks will be taking place while students are waiting for the BUS to arrive.

  • tired of waiting... on 03.28.2014 at 4:28 pm

    Please add more buses. The wait time makes it difficult to use the buses, and walking to the other side of campus is tough.

    • Anon on 03.28.2014 at 6:11 pm

      EXACTLY! The wait time should be reduced from 20 minutes to 10 minutes. 20 minutes is a ridiculous wait time.

      • common sense on 04.02.2014 at 10:05 pm

        And then when all the regular buses are stuck in traffic there will just more buses stuck in traffic.

  • Alum and parent of BU student on 03.28.2014 at 5:03 pm

    There are not nearly enough shuttle buses on campus. The wait time is much too long. There are colleges with campuses a tenth the size of BU and they have many more shuttles running. Students can walk to one end of campus faster than it takes to wait for a bus. Its a disgrace.

  • SMG Senior on 03.30.2014 at 10:13 pm

    The cost of running the BU Shuttle system is not “substantial” relative to the tuition that students are paying to attend this university. Most of the drivers seem to be contracted anyway, so assume $30/hour per driver. Drivers seem to only do two total runs back and forth per hour. The cost of purchasing an articulated bus is about $500,000 divided by a useful life of 12 years. Assuming $100,000 maintenance over the life of the vehicle, that comes out to $50,000 a year and whatever salvage value remains.

    Add an additional 10 articulated buses running non-stop express ONLY on the Charles River campus where an overwhelming number of students use the bus is important. There is significantly less traffic when the buses do not go into the city, and the existing buses can continue running to Med Campus.

    All in cost every year for adding 10 buses which will most likely result in bus frequency of every 5 minutes on campus?
    – $50,000 per bus * 10 buses = $500,000
    – $30 per hour per driver * 10 buses * 16 hours a day * 5 days a week * 32 weeks a year = $768,000
    — Total annual cost is $1,268,000

    The BU endowment is currently $1,400,000,000 (rounded) as of FY2013. Our endowment returned 11.5% last year, or $144 million. Or you can divide the $1,268,000 over the 30,000 undergrad and grad students and the cost is an extra $42.27 per student. Tuition and board went up 3.7% and we somehow can’t find a way to add more buses to the campus. And no, I did not include the cost of fuel so throw in an extra $2 dollars if you must.

    • k on 04.08.2014 at 2:28 pm

      Shuttle runs for 19 hours on weekdays, and you forgot weekends

  • Tyrese Jones on 03.31.2014 at 10:03 am

    Let’s make sure all you BU people scan your pass in the front of the Green Line as opposed to waiving it to the driver from the back!!! No more free rides for you too!!!!

  • BU Alum on 03.31.2014 at 12:04 pm

    What about alums? I sometimes park my car in Kenmore and take the BUS to the Fitrec.

  • Alum on 03.31.2014 at 2:37 pm

    So alumni can’t ride? I just graduated in December and use the bus to get to work, right now the signs on the bus say for BU “Affiliates” only. Does all the money my family and I spent on tuition the past 4 years and my degree not qualify me as a BU affiliate?

  • BU Student on 03.31.2014 at 9:10 pm

    I live off campus in Brookline with a roommate who goes to Northeastern. He takes the BUS every morning to huntington and then walk for 5~10 mins. I know from experience that non-BU affiliates ARE using the BUS, and it’s especially frustrating during peak hours, so thank you, BU, for limiting this service to the actual patrons of the BUS.

    I would suggest setting a check point at huntington though, as I’ve seen/known a lot of people who are not affiliated with BU get on/off at that stop.

  • John Patrick on 04.01.2014 at 10:55 am

    Oh I pay so much money to go here, I deserve this and I deserve that. I am so sick of my classmates sounding like, well sounding like a bunch of Harvard students. Stop thinking you’re so entitled to everything. If you don’t like this policy that BU is enforcing, then don’t take the F’ing bus. Oh, I forgot you pay so much money to go here, so you have to take the bus. If you’re friend is visiting and they can’t get on then both of you take the T, shut up about it and live with it. The BU that I love is slowly slipping away and we are nothing more than whiney brats. #stopembarrassingbu

  • A on 04.01.2014 at 12:04 pm

    Super excited to watch this fail.
    Yes, some people not affiliated with bu use the bus but the overwhelming majority of riders are BU students. I always thought BU was smart enough to recognize this and accept it rather than implementing some over the top id check to keep a handful of people off the bus everyday. I guess I had too much faith in university admin.
    I give it 2-4 weeks before the university accepts that it’s just easier to allow a few locals and other university students to ride the bus and gives up on this brilliant plan.

  • mjb on 04.02.2014 at 10:53 am

    For those of you who ride the shuttle and complaining about length of ride- please start taking the MBTA to see how long it can really be.

    The BU shuttle is absolutely great option and saves a ton of time going across the whole city and I do appreciate BU’s efforts to check IDs to make more room available. It takes them 2 extra minutes to check IDs!

  • thankful on 04.05.2014 at 4:48 pm

    Thank you! This is a thoughtful improvement. It costs the administration time and effort. Riders appreciate it.
    BU Admin: Please know that there is a silent majority that is grateful. Angry comments are typically contradictory. When there was an upsurge of thefts at Mugar Library, `angries’ called loudly for IDs to be checked at the door.
    I was stunned never to have to show my ID on the BUS–as a graduate student at Harvard, I had to show it each time to board the (HMS) shuttle.

  • Dimitri on 04.08.2014 at 11:02 am

    As a BU alum who who went to undergrad and dental school 10 years ago, I used the bus a lot. There were people who weren’t supposed to be on there. But, we never had a problem with overcrowding. That may have changed since then.

    I feel the solution is this: charge non-BU students a fee to ride. People not interested in contributing will stop riding.

    • Monica on 10.16.2017 at 5:23 pm

      I love this idea. So much better and helps make more money.

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