The Tech Shuttle service for the MIT community, inaugurated in early 1999 by the Charles River Transportation Management Association, has proven to be quite popular; more than 130,000 riders, or an average of 17 people each trip, have ridden since February.
The Tech Shuttle connects Kendall Square with west campus and points in between, running every 20 minutes between 7am and 7pm. Passengers include residents of Tang and Westgate (including families), MBTA Red Line and bus commuters, undergraduates housed along Amherst Alley, and employees seeking training at the Professional Learning Center on Vassar Street.
The free shuttle is most useful for a swift trip from one end of campus to the other. Ken Hewitt, facilities coordinator for the Professional Learning Center in Building W89, said the Tech Shuttle is "an extremely reliable and useful service. We have customers coming here from the far end of campus, and they don't have to worry about cars and parking, or leaving extra-early for the long walk. Just as important, they can get to other parts of campus and back during the lunch break of an all day class."
Ever-changing traffic density, road construction, weather conditions and tight schedules make the operation of the service a daily challenge for shuttle drivers. However, the passengers themselves are never a problem. "I get a lot out of driving for these people every day," said morning driver Leonard Joy, adding that he has been amazed at the warm treatment he has received from his passengers. The retired former owner of a retail fish market said he enjoys getting to know the regular riders and their routines.
Anyone needing more information about using the Tech Shuttle may contact Jim Gascoigne at firstname.lastname@example.org or 914-8081 or see the schedule on the web.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on December 15, 1999.