On Sept. 29, Fairfield University announced the addition of two new bus routes to the university’s transportation system.
According to a weekly newsletter sent to students via email, Route 1 of the Inter Campus Bus Shuttle leaves from the Barone Campus Center Traffic Circle at the top of the hour and makes stops at the crosswalks near the DiMenna-Nyselius Library, Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, Dolan School of Business, Egan Chapel, Canisius Hall, Health Center and back to the BCC.
Its second route, which departs at the bottom of the hour, has a slightly shorter route covering the Walsh Athletic Center, Dolan Campus, Townhouse Blocks 13 and 17 and the last stop returns back to the Traffic Circle.
The new bus operation has the capacity to transport 24 students per ride, as stated on the bus capacity sign.
In a Fairfield University Student Association Senate meeting on Sept. 28, one of the purposes of the newest bus addition is, according to DPS Officer Daniel An, to help reduce the “rough” parking issues junior and senior students have been experiencing over the past weeks as a result of construction and lack of parking spaces on campus.
With the first women’s basketball game taking place at Leo D. Mahoney Arena on Nov. 18, Department of Public Safety officials also warned students in the Sept. 28 Senate hearing that the parking situation will be a “headache” for students and advised them to take advantage of this new bus service.
“The bus went live Monday [Sept. 26] afternoon. It goes all over campus. They are doing that to help […] kids driving all over campus,” said Department of Public Safety Officer Daniel An in the Senate hearing. “It does a figure eight but stops everywhere. You just hop on and hop off. Bottom of the hour it goes to the northern part of campus and top of the hour it goes to the bottom of campus.”
Officer An also highlighted that the new bus adds a “huge addition to transportation, especially if you don’t want to walk. The bus will take you there in [approximately] five minutes.”
Speaker of the Senate, Steven Burns ‘24, discussed the details of the initiative at the Senate Meeting during his chair report.
“We have been talking about it in executive [cabinet meetings] the past couple weeks,” Burns said. “I’m excited that we are able to have it back on campus.”
The bus usually departs empty from the Barone Campus Center Traffic Circle and although the current low usage, the expectation is that once colder temperatures start to emerge, students will transition from their usual walk to classes to the new bus as a mechanism to avoid weather-related inconveniences.
“I’ve heard about it, just vaguely,” said Junior residential student Leif Alino when asked about the new Inter-Campus bus shuttle. “I live right in front of 17 Block, which is where it starts. So, it’s pretty convenient for me.”
“I did not know there was a new inter-campus shuttle running, or else I probably would have used it already,” said Ciara Glaser ‘24 when inquired about the new bus option.
This new service offered to Fairfield University students is available from Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Another effort promoted by the FUSA Senate’s Student Life Committee is the addition of a Stag Bus stop at the beach, which houses a considerable number of Fairfield Senior students.
“I know the fight for the Stag Bus to the beach has been going on for a long time,” expressed Senator Burns during the Senate’s first session celebrated on Sept. 14.
A 2013 Mirror opinion article written by Colleen Sweeney noted the lack of safe, University-sponsored transportation from the beach.
“I think it would be a smart new addition to campus, and I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t appreciate this,” wrote Sweeney on March 5, 2013. “Having a campus shuttle run to and from the beach would provide a much-needed, safe way back to campus; however, not everyone agrees.”
She referred to then-Dean of Students Karen Donoghue, who, at the time, attributed the elimination of the beach bus stop to “challenges concerning the safety of the passengers”.
“The shuttles were not driven by EMTs or Public Safety officers and situations occurred that required medical and safety attention and the shuttles were not equipped to handle the situation,” expressed the current Vice President of Student Life.
In the same Sept. 28 Senate meeting, the Chair of the Student Life Committee, Senator Manjot Singh ‘23, highlighted how her commission has tried to “talk to Matt Dinnon about adding a bus stop to the beach to hopefully get rid of the need for some of the seniors to take up some parking spots.”
To some seniors, who also serve as beach resident students, the addition of a Fairfield Beach bus stop would be a convenient alternative to move from their off-campus housing to the university.
Senior Kate Harrington states, “if there was a bus stop that stops at multiple places on the beach I would definitely take advantage of it.”
Harrington continues, “I even have a car here, but to avoid parking troubles I would totally take the bus to and from the beach to campus.”
Senior Molly Maclellan shares a similar sentiment and says, “a bus to and from campus would be super convenient and I know I would definitely use it so I wouldn’t have to loop around campus to find a spot.”
For those who don’t own a car, the extension of the current StagBus route to the beach will remove the stress of finding ways to get to their classes and other on-campus activities.
“I don’t have a car here so finding rides to campus can often be inconvenient,” said beach resident Lily Charter ‘23.
Charter continues to say, “while it was my decision to not have a car here, a bus to campus from the beach would be so helpful whether it be getting to class or just wanting to get there to study. I would definitely use it.”
Writer’s note: This is the first of a two-part series of articles covering Fairfield University’s transportation system.