Star Market Shuttle Changes ScheduleBy Ray Hwang
As of this past Saturday, the Graduate Student Council-sponsored grocery shuttle is running on a new schedule based on students' requests. The shuttle continues to thrive, with more than 40 riders each week.
First organized last spring, the shuttle provides round-trip transportation to and from LaVerde's Star Market in Medford, a full-service supermarket including a bakery, a produce section, and a delicatessen. But because of declining ridership toward the end of the spring semester and during the summer, the shuttle was canceled.
It was revived this past fall with greater publicity, according to Jeffrey J. Sriver G, co-chair of the GSC Housing and Community Affairs Committee.
Now the shuttle leaves campus at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Saturdays. Previously, it left at 11 a.m. and noon.
The new schedule was implemented this past Saturday and was the "result of requests by students for earlier runs," Sriver said. "A survey of about 100 shuttle riders indicated that over two-thirds favored moving the former noon run to 10 a.m.," he said.
Frank LaVerde, owner of LaVerde's Market in the Student Center and the Medford store, also thought that an earlier schedule would be more beneficial. "LaVerde's management felt that the earlier times would also mean less crowded shopping conditions and faster service for shuttle patrons," Sriver said.
Ethel Garza '96, a rider on the first run under the new schedule, felt that earlier times were clearly better. "Sometimes it takes two hours from here to there plus shopping time," Garza said. "If you left at noon, you would come back at 2 p.m., and your entire afternoon was gone."
Statistics on the new schedule, compiled by Sriver and the Center for Transportation Studies, are consistent with the goals of the change.
"New times seem to be balancing the load between the first and second run. Sixty-five percent rode the early bus on the new shuttle and 35 percent on the late bus," Sriver said. Prior to the time change, the split was 80 percent on the early bus and 20 percent on the late bus, he said.
Forty-one students took the shuttle last Saturday, down from the average of 45 for the semester, Sriver said.