The Undergraduate Assembly is working to revamp the Penn Transit route to include stops at 30th Street Station and Trader Joe’s, a popular grocery store among students, on 22nd and Market streets.
Currently, Penn provides free transportation service that runs Monday to Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight. The service includes two bus routes and a shuttle service. Penn Transit also offers the Campus Loop which runs between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays.
The PennBUS East runs in a loop around campus from 20th Street to 40th Street. The PennBUS West runs from 33rd Street to 49th Street. However, neither service stops directly at 30th Street Station or at Trader Joe’s, a popular grocery store among students.
Right now, the UA believes that students are mainly walking or using cabs or SEPTA to get to 30th Street Station. The LUCY loop is one of the SEPTA options that runs from 6 a.m to 7:30 p.m on weekdays. More than 70,000 people rode the LUCY loop in May 2014, but most were employees that work in University City — not students — according to Manuel Smith, public information manager at SEPTA.
College sophomore Kat McKay, committee chair of the dining, sustainability and facilities committee of the UA, is heading the project because she felt that Penn students were not using the service because of the lack of some important stops and a lack of marketing.
“It’s about making this something that appeals to the student body and the places they want to get to, as opposed to the places it stops already,” McKay said.
After spending a week in the summer on Yale University’s campus and seeing how much the shuttle service there was utilized, McKay thought that changing the shuttle service would be an “opportunity to make student life here better in a tangible way.”
UA representatives are meeting with Penn Transit to discuss the implementation of the plan, McKay said. The project is still in its early stages, so McKay is getting feedback and ideas from students on campus. She hopes students providing feedback will also utilize Penn Transit in the future.
When deciding where to add stops, 30th Street Station seemed like a good choice because it provides access to Washington, D.C., and New York City, locations that students travel to frequently, especially during on-campus recruiting, McKay added.
Although the transportation services stop frequently on campus and take all Penn Card holders with up to two guests to their destinations for free, not many Penn students use the service, McKay said. The UA plans to use social media and word of mouth to increase the number of students using Penn Transit.