The Transportation Services Department has announced that there will be several changes to the shuttle services offered during fall break, which will begin on Friday, Oct. 12. These changes include an increase in the ticket price for the shuttle to the New Haven train station, an official deadline of Wednesday, Oct. 10 for students to buy tickets for any of the University shuttles, and the decision to begin boarding shuttles 15 minutes before the official time of departure.
The Transportation Services Department has raised the price of tickets for the New Haven shuttles from $10 to $15 per ticket for every official break. According to Transportation Supervisor Joseph Martocci, costs had to be raised due to the amount of manpower and number of shuttles needed for transportation during these times. The price of shuttle tickets to New Haven on non-vacation weekends will remain at $10.
“Any time there’s a break, [the cost] will be going up to that particular price,” Martocci said. “[This is] because costs have been soaring.”
Students will also be required to purchase fall break shuttle tickets by Wednesday, Oct. 10 for shuttles departing from and returning to the University. According to Martocci, this new deadline was implemented in order for the Transportation Services Department to have a better idea about how many students would be using the shuttles and how many buses would be required to transport them. Additionally, he hoped that it would ensure there would no longer be any last-minute purchasing of tickets.
“What happens is that I commit to so many vehicles, especially the coaches that go to New York and Boston,” Martocci said. “I cross my fingers with this because hopefully we’ll either fill them up or do the best we can when it’s not a complete losing proposition. But when people don’t buy return tickets, it puts us into even more of a turmoil because now I don’t know what’s coming back [because] people are buying their tickets online or just waiting until the last minute to call up the box office.”
This last-minute purchasing of tickets has often resulted in the cancellation of particular shuttle buses. Martocci estimated that he was usually forced to cancel around two or three buses per break because of this confusion.
“Now we’re running into a deadline where people have to buy their round-trip tickets by the 10th,” he said. “It’s a short break, and I commit to so many buses. When I don’t fill a bus, or don’t have enough time to fill a bus, the school pays a cancellation fee, which is not smart business. It doesn’t make sense.”
Finally, Martocci said that the shuttle buses would arrive early to let students begin boarding 15 minutes before the official time of departure. He hoped that this would ensure that the buses would leave the University promptly, which would allow students to get to the airport or train station on time.
“There’s a lot of students who have made the effort to get there on time, and then we have the ones who never make it on time, no matter what,” Martocci said. “Before, we’d be calling students up asking them, ‘Where are you? Are you going to make it?’ [and they’d say] ‘I changed my mind, I changed my plans.’ Meanwhile, you’re tying up a bus and people on [it] that maybe have to catch a 7 o’clock train.”
For Martocci, all of these changes are essential to ensure that students continue to be provided with the necessary transportation to and from the University.
“I’m always trying to prove that we can excel at what we do,” he said. “To me that’s important, that’s what I like to do. I don’t want to be complacent and say, ‘This is all we can do,’ [I want to make sure] we keep on growing so that [the Transportation Services Department] is really good.”