Campus bus line can be your designated driver

Lexington freshmen Alex Buckles (Left), Lexington freshman Ellen Stone, and Lexington freshman Miranda Jenkins, and Glasgow freshman Marcus Piper sing along to music playing on the Purple Line bus on Friday night. “I am known for good music,” said Quinten Haynie, the Purple Line bus driver. Haynie creates his own mixed CDs for his weekend routes. 

Kayla Boyd

A challenge with going out on the town is finding a safe, dependable ride home, but a bus line at WKU acts as a designated driver for students who need a ride downtown or to their apartment complex.

The Safe Ride service, known as the Purple Line, made its debut last year and was affectionately coined “The Drunk Bus.”

Parking and Transportation partnered with the Student Government Association and created the Purple Line in 2012 to replace Provide-A-Ride, a fixed-route service WKU offered in the past.

Available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., a shuttle runs from main campus to downtown, along Chestnut and College Streets, and to apartment complexes down Creason Drive and Campbell Lane, according to the Parking and Transportation website.

Stephen Rowland, Parking and Transportation’s transit manager, said the line has 16 stops and completes its circuit every 45 minutes. This year, a third bus was added to the line.

“We had difficulty maintaining last year’s schedule,” Rowland said. “I assumed traffic would be lighter that late at night, but that just wasn’t the case.”

Rowland said SGA wanted to keep the line’s 15-minute run time and in order to maintain that speed, a third bus was necessary.

The Purple Line carried close to 20,000 passengers last year, Rowland said.

“We are taking inebriated students from behind the wheel,” Rowland said.

One of the Purple Line’s drivers, Quinten Haynie of Bowling Green, has been driving for the line since it started. 

Haynie also drives the Blue Line and has been a WKU bus driver for three years.

The stigmas that the riders of “The Drunk Bus” are always sloppy, sick or drunk are not lost on Haynie. 

However, he said he hasn’t experienced much drama. Haynie said only two people have gotten sick on his bus, which he was responsible for cleaning up.

The weekends that the Purple Line is the busiest, Haynie said, are the first few weeks of class and Homecoming Week. The most popular stop is at College Suites.

Albuquerque, N.M. senior Matthew Dompreh lives at College Suites and rides the bus when he doesn’t have a designated driver. 

He said the bus gets busy around the time when the bars are closing.

“Sometimes right after Hilligan’s has closed, it’s so full you can’t even get a seat,” he said.

Dompreh has never witnessed a fight on the Purple Line — except for one time when his friend was really drunk and tried to start things with another rider.

Dompreh said he feels safe riding the Purple Line and would trust any of his friends to ride it solo and arrive safely.

Stops on the circuit are appropriate because they include off-campus housing, Dompreh added.

“It’s convenient and it saves you from getting in trouble with the police,” he said. “You know you’re getting home safe.”

If there’s anything students should know about the Purple Line, Haynie said, it’s that the stops on the route are a done deal. The Purple Line isn’t a taxi.

“We don’t take you where you wanna go,” he said. “We take you to our stops.”