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Transpo modifies weekend nighttime route

Melissa Flanagan | Tuesday, September 7, 2010

After receiving a positive reaction last school year, the Transpo weekend bus service continues to be popular for Notre Dame students traveling off campus this school year, according to Emily LeStrange, student government’s off-campus concerns chairperson.

The bus service, which began in December 2009, offers free rides to Notre Dame students who leave campus on Friday and Saturday nights. Last year the number of riders was approximately 150 students each weekend, LeStrange said. She expects to continue, and hopefully increase, that amount this year.

“One great thing we noticed recently was grad students riding the bus,” student body president Catherine Soler said. “We didn’t know anyone was using it besides undergrads.”

The route runs in a 40-minute loop beginning at Library Circle at 9:57 p.m. and ending there at 3:17 a.m. LeStrange, along with Soler and vice president Andrew Bell, rode the Transpo bus on Aug. 27 and 28 to see how many people used it and to ask them what they thought about it.

“We wanted to see who was on it and where they were going,” LeStrange said. “This was also during the time of a lot of arrests, so we wanted to make sure that underage students were aware of what was going on off campus.”

Due to the high police activity, they said the number of riders was slightly less than usual.

However, LeStrange said this past weekend was back to normal, assisted by the fact that it was a game weekend. The service is always more popular the weekend of a football game, since it is much harder to get a cab.

One change this year is the addition of Eddy Street Commons to the route, Soler said.

“The new route with Eddy Street is really great because it not only allows students to get picked up from an off-campus party, but it gives them a place to hang out late at night,” Soler said.

Kildare’s Irish Pub, which opened this summer on Eddy Street, and Hot Box Pizza are both open until after 3 a.m. on weekend nights.

After beginning on Twyckenham Drive, the bus route goes to Eddy Street, followed by Notre Dame Avenue and downtown South Bend. LeStrange is currently working on getting the new route printed on large maps to hang not only in residence halls, but also in off-campus houses and bars.

“I don’t think most people know that you can get on or off the bus anywhere as long as it can stop safely,” LeStrange said. “If you wanted to wave it down on Notre Dame Ave., it would be able to stop for you as long as it wouldn’t be a hazard to traffic.”

The off-campus committee is also looking into the possibility of running the Transpo service on Thursday nights, which Soler said is dependent on costs.

“In the fall we’re really trying to just get the word at there that Transpo is still around,” LeStrange said. “It’s a free, safe alternative to taxis and is a great service that student government can provide for us.”

Freshman Meaghan Ayers said she has not yet used the Transpo route, but was glad to hear that it exists.

“I haven’t gone off campus much yet but when I do I’m definitely going to try to use Transpo,” she said. “None of my friends at other schools have a free bus service for when they go out at night.  It’s really cool that Notre Dame offers it.”

Sophomore Teresa Goetz said she did not use Transpo many times last year, but she likes knowing that it is an option.

“Its more convenient and definitely more entertaining than a normal cab ride,” she said.