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Daytime Shuttle to Start in December

By Gireeja V. Ranade

MIT transportation will offer a Boston Winter Shuttle this year to bring students back and forth across the Charles River during the day.

The shuttle will run from December through April, except for the January Independent Activities Period, said Lawrence R. Brutti, the operations manager of the MIT Parking and Transportation Office.

The shuttle will run every half hour, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., said David N. Rogers, the director of fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups.

The shuttle will have five stops: 77 Massachusetts Ave., the intersection of Beacon Street and Massachusetts Ave., the intersection of Dearfield Street and Bay State Road, on Commonwealth Ave. in front of Sigma Kappa and Alpha Chi Omega, and the intersection of Beacon Street and Hereford Street, Rogers said.

SafeRide mini-bus to be used

One of the existing SafeRide mini-buses will be used as the Boston Winter Shuttle, said John M. McDonald, the assistant director of enterprise services. The bus fits 22 people, he said.

About 1,400 students live in FSILGs, said Laura Martin of the FSILG Office. Out of the 37 FSILGs, 26 are across the river, and the bus will probably be useful to 24 of them, Martin said.

In total, the project will cost about $30,000. The funding will come from the FSILG Office, Rogers said.

Positive response expected

The shuttle “has been something people have wanted for a long time,” said Christine M. Ortiz ’05, the president of the Panhellenic Association.

“It will eliminate concerns that people have about transportation,” she said.

“More and more people will get used to it and then they may need to increase the number of trips of the van,” said Gustavo A. Gil ’04, a member of Pi Lambda Phi. “I know that I will certainly use it.”

“I myself probably would not be using the shuttle as much, since I use a bike to get around campus,” said Julia E. Thrower ’05, from Student House.

However, she said she thinks that many other people from Student House would use it.

Some may not use shuttle

Although most students living across the river would have the shuttle available to them, some are unsure of whether they would actually use it.

“I would probably use it, but I don’t want to wake up fifteen minutes early,” said Adrienne F. Yandell ’05, a Sigma Kappa member. “If it’s going to get there on the hour or hour ’o five, I would probably just take the bus,” she said.

“Most of the people who live across the river have bus passes, which are really cheap,” Yandell said.

A monthly bus pass costs $9.50.

Ortiz is confident that the Boston Winter Shuttle will be prompt. “It may be possible to track the shuttles online using the GPS; we do have the capabilities,” he said.

A student project funded by the MIT-Microsoft iCampus alliance added Global Positioning System receivers and radios to MIT shuttles earlier this year. The shuttles can be tracked at http://shuttletrack.mit.edu.

Rogers says the route will be evaluated as the program proceeds. “Our goal is to make it less than thirty minutes,” he said.

“We are really not sure about the demand,” Ortiz said. “We will have to see what it will be like eventually.”

The transportation sub-committee of the Graduate Student Council is also working with the administration to “assess the feasibility of altering routes or starting new routes to better serve graduate students,” said R. Eric Caulfield, the GSC president.