Starting next Monday, August 9, the Tech Shuttle schedule and route will change, and the Northwest Shuttle’s route will be replaced by the EZRide Shuttle, which runs from North Station to Cambridgeport by way of Kendall Square.
This change stems from recommendations from the MIT Parking and Transportation department and a graduate thesis written by Aimee K. Beasley ’08 in 2009. According to Lawrence R. Brutti, who runs the MIT Parking and Transportation office, the new plan will allow MIT to increase shuttle frequency and passenger capacity, continue NextBus tracking, and use one less bus for six hours each day, while keeping the cost to MIT identical.
There will continue to be four full-time MIT drivers, with each driver still working the same number of hours, but their working hours will change. The current Northwest Shuttles will become Tech Shuttles.
The EZRide will be adding a new midday schedule that will be similar to the current Northwest Shuttle, bringing its total to three schedules and routes — morning, midday, and evening. EZRide is run by the Charles River Transportation Management Association.
The morning service, running every 10 minutes, begins at 6:20 a.m. at North Station, arriving at Kendall Square by 6:34 a.m. This begins nearly an hour earlier than the current Northwest Shuttle schedule. Morning service continues through 10:34 a.m. at Kendall Square.
The midday schedule, with shuttles running every 20 minutes, will run from 10:44 a.m. to 3:04 p.m., starting from Kendall Square and ending at Sidney Pacific. It does not go to North Station or Cambridgeport.
The evening schedule runs from 3:04 p.m. to 7:24 p.m. from North Station to Fort Washington Park in Cambridgeport every 10 minutes.
Not all stops on the current Northwest Shuttle will be on the new EZRide Shuttle route. The Kendall Square stop will be in the same location as the current Northwest Shuttle stop — in front of E38 near the MIT Press, but on the opposite side of the road from the current EZRide stop. The MIT Museum stop will be discontinued, as will the 84 Massachusetts Avenue stop (the shuttle will instead stop at 77 Massachusetts Avenue on the midday and evening routes).
The Tech Shuttle will begin service at an earlier time, starting at 6:15am from Kendall Square. The route modifications include a relocation of the 84 Mass Ave stop to W11 on Amherst Alley. Service to Building 42 on Vassar St. will be discontinued, and the Media Lab stop will be moved to the EZRide route. The Tech Shuttle’s Stata Center stop will be the closest to the current Building 42 stop. Even with the route changes, the shuttle will maintain it’s 20-minute time to go around its loop route.
Al Ahlquist, an MIT shuttle driver for 5 years, said that he didn’t know how it would affect the number of people taking the shuttle or whether it would be a positive or negative change. “We’ll have to see once the students get back. Right now it’s the summer, and there are only grad students and employees and some summer programs. We’ll have to see after Labor Day.”
However, he did say that some riders have expressed concerns about the new change. Since EZRide is not run by MIT, “our offices can’t communicate with EZRide buses. If people call and complain because either a bus left them or if they left a cell phone on the bus, we can only say ‘Call EZRide.’”
Brutti said this would not be a problem.
EZRide driver Juan Paiz hasn’t heard any complaints from current EZRide riders. “As long as the customer is happy, we’re happy.”
To provide a smoother transition, employees from MIT Parking and Transportation and EZRide will be at major stops next week.
For the new EZRide detailed schedule and route maps, visit http://ezride.info.