Topper Transit to add more pick-up, drop-off locations

Jessica Sasseen

The wheels on the bus will soon go round and round from Baker Street to Western Place. And from The Brewing Company to Chestnut Street. The wheels on the bus will go from Good Tymes 2 to Lampkin Place, all night long.

Or at least from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.

Beginning Dec. 2, the Topper Transit shuttle system will begin a pilot program during the Friday and Saturday night late run. The new program will boast more stops at local bars and apartment complexes.

At 10 p.m., a shuttle will run from Ray’s Banquet Hall, The Brewing Company, Baker Boys, Good Tymes 2 and Great Escape movie theater. Next, the shuttle will drop off passengers as needed on campus, at the Gables, Stonehenge/Lampkin Place, Western Place, Lost Woods and the Chestnut Street lot.

“We worked with students on picking places where it would be most used if we put a pick-up there,” Student Government Association president Jamie Sears said. “We used some frequent stops from Provide-A-Ride.”

The late-night run of Topper Transit has suffered since its inception this semester. Only about two people per weekend have been using the service, said Angie Jackson, from Facilities Management.

The new Topper Transit pilot route was designed by Facilities Management Director Doug Ault, Jackson and Sears to boost the ridership on the poorly utilized night-shuttle system.

“I’m hoping that maybe we will attract some students to use our transit system that don’t normally use it,” Ault said. “That will build more of a market for transportation services. We think if we can increase the use of transportation services that it could help alleviate some of the parking problems.”

Munfordville senior Chris Sheldon rides the shuttle twice a day but has not ridden the shuttle at night. He said the new route sounded like a good idea.

“I would ride, definitely,” Sheldon said. “A bigger variety of places to go would be a big help.”

The current late night weekend shuttle runs to a number of places, including Pearce-Ford Tower, Baker Boys, the Valley, Great Escape and the Downtown Square. It delivers off-campus students to Chestnut Street and the Gables only. Sears said the new route better caters to off-campus students by making stops at other apartment complexes.

“I hope to see a ground swell of support for this,” Sears said. “I know we have kind of struggled with Topper Transit. This is definitely a step in the direction of serving needs better. And it’s nonsense not to use it.

“To split a cab with five people when you can just hop on the free bus – it’s nonsense not to use it. I’m optimistic that it’s going to work better now.”

Jackson said publicity is important to the success of this system.

“Our No. 1 thing is we want to provide safe transportation for our students on the weekend,” Jackson said. “I think it’s a good service out there, and we just need to get some word out. If nobody’s going to utilize it, we don’t need to have it.”

Students must present a valid Big Red ID card to ride Topper Transit. Guests can also ride the shuttle, if they are riding with someone who has a Big Red ID.

Reach Jessica Sasseen at [email protected]