Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Responding to requests for a University shuttle bus system, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has launched UM shuttle. Last academic year, the University community lobbied for a shuttle bus service in several monthly Q&A sessions with President Jay A. Perman, MD, and the administration responded.
On Aug. 14, buses began taking faculty, staff, and students, and University of Maryland Medical Center employees free of charge on three separate routes that "hub" at the corner of Pine and Baltimore streets. The routes reach as far as Mount Vernon, 1st Mariner Arena, the West Baltimore neighborhoods surrounding the UM BioPark, parts of the Inner Harbor, and the Federal Hill neighborhood south to Fort Avenue.
The Southern Management Corporation Campus Center will offer an information desk with shuttle tracking boards.
"Designed to serve residential and high commercial areas in downtown Baltimore frequented by our University community, the shuttle will allow students, faculty, and staff to move around the city in a safe, efficient, and reliable way," says Flavius Lilly, MPH, assistant vice president for academic and student affairs.
"The shuttle is exciting," Lilly says, "because it enhances our urban environment and makes the city more livable. Easing access to the University, the shuttle will contribute to a safer city, cleaner environment, and better quality of life for those associated with UMB."
The shuttle will operate from 6 a.m. until midnight during weekdays and 5 p.m. until midnight on the weekends and during the summer. Each route will have multiple buses. Take note: There will be no service on University holidays and riders will always need to show a valid University or Medical Center ID card.
Details of UM shuttle's three routes-BioPark, Mount Vernon, and Federal Hill-can be found here. Additionally, smartphone users will be able to follow the location and arrival times of buses through the free NextBus app.
The UM shuttle replaces the Caravan service, which was a site-to-site transportation service available during limited hours on or near the campus. The wait and ride times were long, and only a small number of individuals used the service.
Bus stops will be marked with UM Shuttle signs, and buses will have bike racks, be handicapped accessible (both as of October), and equipped with WiFi. Shuttle routes have been designed to connect with other public transportation options such as the Charm City Circulator and Light Rail.
The University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) Department of Transportation was instrumental in the UM shuttle service's design. "UMCP is considered an expert in university transit services across the country," says Robert Milner, MS, CAPP, director of parking and transportation services for UMB.
The Department of Public Safety is working with student affairs and parking services to make the new UM shuttle program not only a better transportation program, but a safe and secure one as well. "I consider the new shuttle service an integral part of our commitment to maintain a safe environment for our University community," says Antonio Williams, MS, chief of police and assistant vice president of public safety.
"The UM shuttle demonstrates that we have listened, understood, and responded, to the needs of our students," says Lilly. "It represents our commitment to the safety and security of our University community. And while it meets an immediate need, it is also a symbol of our pledge to environmental sustainability, our commitment to carbon neutrality, and our desire to reduce reliance on single-occupancy vehicles."