February 24, 2010
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab
SGA's bus, NextBus service proves hit with riders
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -The wheels on the bus are going round, round, round and the bus is full, full, full according to a report from Tyson Johnston, vice president of public relations for Slippery Rock University's Student Government Association.
Ridership, including faculty, staff, students and guests for the first 11 school days of February 2010 shows 15,550 got onboard, compared to 11,679 riders during the same 11 school days a year ago.
Johnston attributes part of the increase to the cold weather, but also said increased awareness and use of NextBus, a computer-locator system for identifying bus stop arrival times, as important factors.
The NextBus system was paid for through an SRU Green Fund Project Grant and SGA funds.
Original plans called for one bus to make the campus loop, with the second covering off campus service from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
To help meet the increased rider demand, SGA added a third bus running from 7:30-10:30 a.m. weekdays, covering the Campus Side Apartment area and the standard on-campus loop.
"The buses have been crowded, especially those that run just before classes, and a little less so during the middle of class runs," Johnston said. "That is why we added a third bus. In a look at specific days, we found that Feb. 11 saw 633 passengers on the on-campus route, and 455 passengers on the off-campus route. The highest number of riders in one day this year was 755," Johnston said.
The third bus will remain part of the system until spring break, Johnston said.
Plans are being considered to include the extra bus from the start of classes next spring semester until spring break 2011.
Johnston, a proponent of NextBus, which can be reached via telephone or online, said, "The system has taken the guesswork out of when the next bus will arrive. Riders can simply call a telephone number or go online to see when the bus will be at the next stop."
The NextBus system uses a geo-positioning system to track where buses are in their routes and constantly reports the information. Devices on the bus automatically count and report ridership. Those using the online system can see any reported delays such as traffic accidents or construction projects that may be slowing the regular schedule.
He said SGA has installed reflective signs at all bus stops indicating the stop number and the NextBus telephone number. He urged riders to learn the stop numbers so they can better track the bus' arrival time.
In addition SGA provides a one bus evening route run 4:30-9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and a late night bus from 10 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Thursday through Saturday.
The telephone number if 724.698.2049, the online Web site is www.NextBus.com.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.