Extra shuttles offset Vern traffic

The Vern Express added an extra hour of five-minute interval shuttles Tuesday to ease the influx of students commuting for more than two dozen additional courses this semester in the renovated Ames Hall.

University officials have been working with International Limousine, the company that operates the shuttle, to decide how to meet the demand of 26 extra classes on the Mount Vernon Campus.

Shelly Heller, associate provost for academic affairs for the campus, said transportation staff spent the entire first day “monitoring the buses and ridership and bringing in extra buses to manage the flow as needed.”

The Vern Express ran every five minutes from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. under the old schedule, but will extend its more frequent running times until 6 p.m. The shuttle will not change its late-night or early morning schedule and continues operating every 15 minutes from 6 to 10 p.m.

The campus is expected to receive about 300 non-MVC residents, about 85 more students than during the same time slot last year, for its busiest class period at 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, she said.

Assistant history professor Christopher Klemek, who teaches a 35-student lecture at 1 p.m. Tuesdays, said a few students arrived late but none attributed their lateness to the commute.

“I hope that more students will consider taking classes [in Ames Hall],” Klemek said. “Particularly during the mid-day slots, when commuter traffic on the roads is so light that the bus ride over takes just a few minutes – less time than walking from one side of Foggy Bottom to the other.”

Heller expects the shuttle will be able to manage the increase in passengers, but recommended that students allot extra travel time.

Ames Hall, which was converted from a dining hall to an academic building over the last year, will house the largest classes in Vern history in addition to all of the required freshman University Writing courses and more than a dozen introductory courses geared toward freshman.

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