Advance Transit Adds Evening Bus Route
The Advance Transit (AT) bus service is a unique benefit of living in the Upper Valley area. Not only is the service free, but cheerful drivers go out of their way to help travelers, stopping for those who are running late and coordinating transfers with other buses. This type of service is rare in most places, even when customers are paying. Recently, the service has become even more convenient, with an extended evening route that started September 16.
AT is a not-for-profit charitable organization that was created in 1984 to provide public transportation for the Upper Valley region (TCRP Report 159 by Tamar Henkin, 2012). Some of the goals of the AT bus service, as listed on its website, are to reduce traffic congestion, provide commuters with an alternative to driving alone, and help senior citizens and those with disabilities who may have more difficulty getting around.
According to a survey conducted in 2008 by the AT, many of those who ride the bus do so in order to get to work. However, there are also a number of Dartmouth students who take advantage of the bus. The 2008 survey also found that of the Dartmouth students who ride the bus, the majority are graduate students. Eighty-one percent of students who responded to the survey were graduate students, while nineteen percent were undergraduates. The bus can be very useful for graduate students, especially international students who may not have a car and need a way to get to class, the lab, or the grocery store. It is particularly helpful in the winter months when biking may not be practical.
However, one of the primary concerns of survey respondents was the lack of evening bus service. The AT is addressing this concern this fall by extending evening hours for the Dartmouth/Hanover Shuttle. The evening route will run to Tuck and DHMC, as well as downtown Lebanon, West Lebanon, downtown White River Junction, and Wilder. The hope is that this service will be especially helpful to graduate students studying or working late.
Student leaders from the Graduate Student Council (GSC) combined forces with the leaders of the student councils of Tuck, Geisel, Thayer, and TDI on this transportation initiative last school year. Together they worked diligently with Dartmouth officials to help move the plan forward and make this extended route possible. Dean Kull of Graduate Studies was also central in realizing the initiative.
Last year’s GSC president, Julia Bradley-Cook, was a proponent of this initiative from the beginning, and had this to say now that the extended service has finally come to fruition: “The Grad Student Council has been pushing for extended bus service for a number of years, and it is so great to be a part of this change! The extended service makes public transportation an option for all the grad students who work later than 7 pm. We are grateful to the many administrators who listened to us, provided input, and supported us to make this change possible. I really hope that people take advantage of it!”
“The new bus service is great for when I work late,” observes Christine Urbanowicz, a PhD student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) program. She adds, “It’s nice to be greeted by a friendly driver, and requesting to go to Lebanon is no problem.” Matteo Visconti di Oleggio Castello, a graduate student in psychological and brain sciences, notes, “As an international student living in Lebanon, I find the Advanced Transit service incredibly helpful and convenient. I do not own a car, but even if I did, I would continue to use this service because it is safe, fast, and helps reduce CO2 emissions. I wish to thank the GSC for their effort, and I encourage all other students to try this great service.”
Advance Transit is initially planning for a nine-month trial of the extended route, made possible by additional funding from the provost. Graduate students are, therefore, encouraged to take advantage of this service so that the trial will be successful, and the extended service will continue indefinitely. For additional information about Advance Transit service and Upper Valley Rideshare, see the Advance Transit site.