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Campus Life

A Day in the Life of the BUS

What does it take to transport 11,000 people a day?

On a busy day, 11,000 students, faculty, and staff climb aboard the BU Shuttle (the BUS), jumping on and off along the route from the Charles River Campus to the Medical Campus. That adds up to 1.9 million riders in the course of a year, says Billy Hajjar, director of BU Parking and Transportation Services.

The BUS has become the go-to for many commuters because of convenience (no parking hassles) and price (free). The 10-vehicle fleet comprises 5 articulated (accordion) buses, at 60 feet long, capable of holding 100 passengers each, as well as 5 standard (40-feet-long) buses, with room for 60 passengers. During peak travel times, 6 shuttles make 12 stops between the campuses, operating from 7 a.m. to midnight (and even later on weekends).

What passengers don’t get to see is the behind-the-scenes life of the BUS. Drivers begin arriving at the Braintree lot housing the buses at 4:30 a.m., where they gas up and do a safety inspection. From there, it’s a 30-minute ride navigating rush-hour traffic to the Medical Campus or the Charles River Campus to begin picking up passengers. The last drivers don’t return their buses to Braintree until well after midnight, depending on the day.

“It may sometimes go unnoticed that our BUS drivers have a very challenging job, navigating these large vehicles through an ever-changing climate along a dense urban route, each and every day,” says Hajjar. “If you take the time to thank your drivers for what they do, I’m certain it would brighten their day.”

As in any major city, some delays are unavoidable: Boston’s notorious traffic congestion, frequent construction detours, and the occasional maintenance issue can derail the best of schedules. When that happens, Hajjar says, the best thing to do is check the “live view” on the BU Mobile App, the BUS Twitter page, or the BUS website. And sometimes, it may just be faster to walk.

Bill Politis can be reached at bpolitis@bu.edu.

17 Comments

17 Comments on A Day in the Life of the BUS

  • Paul T on 03.24.2016 at 6:36 am

    Great view into a very important service, performed by wonderful staff!! Thank you!!

  • Medical Student on 03.24.2016 at 7:33 am

    This was a really cool video! I sometimes rely on the BUS to get home from the medical campus, so it’s nice to see it it in a different light.

  • Denis on 03.24.2016 at 8:09 am

    Very insightful video. Thanks for the compilation.

  • Mohit on 03.24.2016 at 9:13 am

    Thanks for the vid! I would have been really difficult to capture the “ordinary” moments on camera without making people feel uncomfortable. Great job!

  • Commuter on 03.24.2016 at 9:40 am

    When you rely on the BUS to get you to and from work on time every day, it’s easy to get frustrated when your commute doesn’t go 100% smoothly, and you forget that your driver is just a person trying to do their job. I have a lot of respect for the drivers who get us where we need to go every day; I can barely wake up at 7, much less 4! Great video.

  • Nathan on 03.24.2016 at 9:49 am

    Good job with the music.
    Blues set the right note.

  • Rupert Manlove on 03.24.2016 at 10:58 am

    this is LITERALLY what it feels like to be on the bus. Gets the vibe exactly!

  • JNB on 03.24.2016 at 1:05 pm

    As someone who works on the CRC and lives near the MC, I rely so much on the BUS and its convenience to my daily commuting needs. I sure hope the Huntington Ave. stop doesn’t go away after the conclusion of the BU Theater affiliation.

  • Edna Fils-Aime on 03.24.2016 at 6:14 pm

    What a very nice video I truly enjoy driving the BU shuttle since July 2011.

  • Katharine R Mooney on 03.25.2016 at 9:56 am

    Loved this – great job! You should consider doing more ‘behind the scenes’ videos like this that highlight the campus services and staff.

  • Annonomous on 04.14.2016 at 4:45 pm

    Great video. Very disturbing that not one student said ‘Thank you” to the drivers.

  • Sharlayne on 07.14.2016 at 8:43 pm

    I thought this was a really insightful video. Definitely will remember to thank the drivers in the future for their hard work.

  • Susan Foster on 07.15.2016 at 10:25 am

    Very beautifully filmed video! Congratulations to Jason Kimball!

    • David Bergeron-Keefe, BU Today on 07.15.2016 at 11:49 am

      I think you meant Bill Politis. But Bill and Jason are both amazing video producers!

  • hadaf on 09.16.2016 at 4:04 am

    very nice video!
    thanks

  • radith on 11.11.2017 at 1:26 am

    As someone who works on the CRC and lives near the MC, I rely so much on the BUS and its convenience to my daily commuting needs.

  • jonnesy on 06.28.2018 at 8:13 am

    enjoyed the video. i actually have used the services of the shuttle. i used to drive my car but finding a place to park was a nightmare. hope more universities and colleges to adopt the idea of campus shuttles.

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