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Changes to Penn Bus and Shuttle Services

Following the recommendations of a campus-wide Penn Transit Services (PTS) Advisory Group, the Penn Bus and Penn Shuttle services have been modified to better meet demand and the changing needs of the campus. The changes became effective August 25. Following a series of meetings in the spring to define a set of service principles and recommendations for Penn Transit, the PTS Advisory Group recommended the following changes, which were accepted by the administration July 1:

General Service Changes

  • All Penn Bus and Penn Shuttle services end at 1 a.m. (instead of 3 a.m.)
  • Service pilot--from 1-3 a.m., PTS will operate a dispatch service, allowing University affiliates to call (215) 898-RIDE for a PTS Shuttle for transportation within service boundaries (existing "After Hours" Public Safety dispatch remains unchanged and begins at 3 a.m.)
  • Penn Bus Service Changes

  • Center City services transition to Penn Bus only, in which service is provided on a dedicated route
  • Center City service moves to weekdays only
  • Service pilot--Penn Bus East will add a stop at 38th and Locust during peak rush hours, 6-8 p.m.
  • Service pilot--Penn Bus East will extend service to 40th Street during non rush hours, after 8 p.m., adding two stops (40th and Walnut, 39th and Spruce)
  • "These modifications are driven by University community's changing needs and usage of Transit services," said Ron Ward, Transportation Manager.

    "The campus is a fundamentally different place than it was several years ago--when many of these services were implemented," said Lee Nunery, Vice President for Business Services. "We have thriving retail areas in University Square and 40th Street. UC Brite, UC Green, and our Public Safety initiatives have made West Philadelphia a nicer place to live and spend time. Our campus community pulses now with foot traffic and late-night activity. While people still value Penn Transit, these changes bear out in the number of riders and the services they need."

    Although the demand for Penn Transit Services to the campus community remains high overall, the Penn Bus and Shuttle ridership trend has dropped. In FY97, Penn Bus and Shuttle ridership peaked at 432,005. For FY03, ridership totaled 348,600.

    These modifications are part of a strategy to ensure high quality, responsive service, while containing costs for the University. Other recent initiatives by Penn Transit include changing stops and pick-up times to address demand and, within the last few months, purchasing a new fleet of buses.

    "Penn Transit did a good thing by convening a University-wide committee to offer counsel and make recommendations about its services," said Anne Mickle, chair of the Penn Professional Staff Assembly and House Dean for Stouffer College House. "Penn Bus and Penn Shuttle are important resources to the campus community--but we all recognized that they could be meeting our needs better and we made recommendations accordingly. We're pleased with the outcome--this is the way University governance is supposed to work."

    All Transit Stops have updated brochures outlining the changes to the services. Information is also available online at www.upenn.edu/transportation. During this academic year, in partnership with Public Safety and the PTS Advisory Group, Penn Transit will assess the community's response and monitor the impact of these changes, making further recommendations regarding whether the services should be continued or revised.

     


      Almanac, Vol. 50, No. 2, September 2, 2003

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