PTS adds 3 buses to White Line

Trey Crumbie

WKU students may have a little more elbow room when it comes to riding the Topper Transit Shuttles.

Jennifer Tougas, director of Parking and Transportation Services, said three buses have been added to the Transit service this semester.

This brings the total bus fleet to 13.

Stephen Rowland, assistant director of Transit Operations and transportation manager, said ridership was a reason for why new buses were added.

“Ridership predominately,” Rowland said. “Our ridership was the highest ever last school year.”

Other factors include increasing the frequency of service and vehicle durability.

“When you’re carrying that many passengers that frequently, that’s a lot of wear and tear on the equipment,” Tougas said.

The three new buses will be added to the White Line, which travels between Main and South Campus.

Tougas said the new buses will contain a special seating formation called perimeter seating, where most of the seats on the bus will face towardsthe center as opposed to the front allowing for easier access on and off the bus.

“So we’ll actually be able to hold more passengers comfortably with the perimeter seating,” Tougas said. “So that will help with some of our capacity problems too.”

Rowland said there are plans to retrofit the older buses as well.

“We’re going to have a very modern fleet,” Rowland said.

Rowland said that the new buses cost approximately $370,000 each and would last upward of 15 years, which is more than a lighter duty bus or a van would.

“So when you spread that cost over 15 years, it’s beneficial to purchase those style buses,” Rowland said.

Rowland and Tougas said the buses were paid for via a combination of federal grant money and through Parking and Transportation department funds.

Tougas said the decision to add the buses was part of the strategic plan for the department.

“We have seen a shift away from students buying parking permits and toward students using transit,” Tougas said. “And the kinds of transit services that we’re providing, both on campus and off campus, have really helped students live without cars.”

Rowland said there was no harm in having a good transit system at WKU.

“Having a good transit system at the university could be an attractor in the future to draw students to Western,” Rowland said.