This year, much to the delight of University students, the Off-Campus shuttle has returned to activity.
Running from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Friday, the off-campus shuttle now offers students an easy way to get to and from campus.
The off-campus shuttle was not in service last year.
What was once a popular method of student transportation was eliminated, leaving students living off campus or students who had to go run errands or go to the doctor’s office or do any variety of activities in the surrounding Villanova area forced to find different ways to get around.
For college students, many of whom do not have cars here on campus, this was a major inconvenience, forcing them to find alternative ways to travel from destination to destination.
Contrary to what many students may have thought, the reason for the shuttle’s disappearance was not administrative negligence by the Villanova Department of Public Safety; instead, it was the result of an unfortunate series of events that led to a last-minute cancellation.
“Previously, the shuttle went to Rosemont College, but we no longer house students there, and Borders bookstore, which closed down and became a vacant property so we were not allowed to go there, and the Warden Lobby at Bryn Mawr Hospital,” said Joseph Ahern, parking and transportation director for the Department of Public Safety. Since there was no need to go to Rosemont, and we could not go to Borders, there was no place for us to go.”
Ahern said it was a matter of timing and a lack of options rather than a lack of effort on the part of his department.
When asked if there was a negative response from students last year, he added, “Of course, but we explored all options. We were feverishly knocking on doors, asking, ‘Can we bring a shuttle here? Can we bring a shuttle here? Can we bring a shuttle here?’ Just because we could not run it last year did not mean we stopped looking for alternatives.”
“Last year, we got the bomb dropped on us last minute, so we were kind of scrambling to find a new place for the shuttle to go. Our intention was always to keep the shuttle going. It was just a matter of, “Where can we go where it is safe all-around?’” Ahern said.
Ahern acknowledged that one organization interested in finding a safe, effective option for the shuttle was Home Properties, the housing complex that houses a large number of University students.
After further research, the Department of Public Safety found that the three biggest reasons that students needed to use the shuttle were for doctor’s appointments at Bryn Mawr Hospital, to go to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions or run errands and to get to and from their housing, which in the case of many off-campus students, is at Home Properties.
As a result, the Department was able to work with each of these locations to get the shuttle approved and set up for this year.
The schedule for the off-campus shuttle now starts at Villanova on the :00/:20/:40 minutes of every hour.
Then, it arrives at Home Properties at the :05/:25/:45 minutes, followed by reaching the Warden Lobby of the Bryn Mawr Hospital at :08/:28/:48.
The shuttle then goes to the Rosemont Pharmacy by the :13/:33/:53 marks before getting back to the University Campus at :16/:36/:56.
By all accounts, the shuttle has been a success thus far for everyone involved.
“We actually have students telling us that they are walking to Home Properties to take the shuttle to campus,” said Ahern. “And it benefits us, because our parking is at a minimum. We just don’t have the room, so if we have students coming to campus via shuttle instead of by driving their car, it is a win-win for everyone involved.”
Students are also taking well to this hidden gem that makes their lives vastly easier.
“I think it’s a really good thing to have for students. It’s really easy and does not cost money so it is a nice alternative to the train,” said sophomore Jani Swiatek. “It’s nice that the school does something to compensate for the fact that a lot of us do not have cars. I feel like people don’t even know that it exists since they did not have it last year.”