By Merle Exit
In an effort to reduce commute time and improve access to the campus, Queens College has launched a new shuttle bus service.
The shuttle buses offer a faster, more convenient way for students to travel between the campus and two major transit hubs serving Jamaica Station and Flushing-Main Street Station as well as providing cross-campus service between Queens Hall and the Student Union Building.
William Keller, vice president of Finance and Administration, was not new to this idea as he was responsible for implementing a shuttle bus at another CUNY campus, Kingsborough College in Brooklyn. “Discussions on starting a shuttle bus here began in 2010 between the former president of the college and facility,” Keller. said “They put together a committee and found that 62.5 percent live within 1 ¼ miles of the LIRR or subway. Then there are those that live in Flushing or are getting off at the No. 7 train.”
In order to finance the buses and drivers a fee of $40 per semester is being charged to all students, whether or not they use the transportation. The service frees up parking and allows the college to recruit new students.
There are five buses running at any given time. A sixth one was purchased in case one breaks down.
Dean of Students John Andrejack serves as the adviser to the Student Association.
“The students led the incentive and met with William. In order to get the students to sign a petition they had to produce advertising and wound up getting the 2,000 signatures to go on the ballot, voting ‘yes’ for the referendum to pay for the shuttle bus,” Andrejack said. “It won by a narrow margin. “
He said the next step was deciding on the best two public transportation points and campus stops.
“The result is that the students are pleased and ridership is up about 1,500 a day. I see happy students getting off the bus, which means less stress going to classes.”
Kareen Eustache is a senior, majoring in psychology and communications. She commutes from Brooklyn.
“I take a bus and two trains to get to the Sutphin Boulevard Jamaica Station. Using either the Q44 that goes to Main Street entrance or the Q23 that runs along Kissena Boulevard, it used to take me 30-40 minutes just on those buses. Getting on the buses was a terrible hassle having not only to deal with commuters going to work or home but the high school students as well.”
Eustache said she was frequently late to class because drivers shut the doors when the buses got overcrowded and the traffic slowed their path.
“Now,” said Eustache, “it takes me 15-17 minutes to get from the pickup spot to the campus.”
She has classes near both near Kissena Boulevard and the building located at 65-21 Main St.
“ Normally it would take me about 15 minutes to walk across campus on a sunny day,” Eustache said. “ The shuttle bus gets me here in 4-5 minutes.”
The shuttle buses are those yellow school buses.
The shuttle service operates weekdays from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. and weekends from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. covering two routes.
From Jamaica buses will pick up riders every 20 minutes and transport them to Queens Hall and the Student Union. Travel time to or from Jamaica is about 25-30 minutes.
Pick up/drop off in Jamaica is Sutphin and Archer.
From Flushing travel time to the campus is about 15 minutes.
Pick up/drop off in Flushing is Sanford Avenue and Main Street, across from the post office, four blocks from the No. 7 line.