Temple Student Government is working with Facilities and Campus Safety to launch a brand new bus service on Main Campus. The new service, called Flight, will replace the current systems of TUr Door and Owl Loop.
Flight is free and will operate in the same service area as TUr Door—from Cumberland to Girard streets, and 5th to 20th streets. The 5:30 p.m. to 6 a.m. operating times will also remain the same.
The main difference between Flight and TUr Door and Owl Loop is Flight will up pick students from their residences, whereas the old services would just drop them off.
Students can request the bus to pick them up by typing in their address to an app called TapRide.
“TapRide will allow you to go in and demand a car just like Uber,” Student Body President Ryan Rinaldi said. “You go in and select where you want to go and it’ll take you there,” “They’ll even send you a text when the bus is outside your door.”
With Flight in place, TUr Door and Owl Loop have been disbanded and are no longer operating. Both of those systems were ineffective, officials said.
“When the current model [TUr Door and Owl Loop] was implemented in 2010, ridership was averaging close to 3,000 rides per week. The ridership today is almost down 33 percent,” facilities superintendent Mark Gottlieb said. “It didn’t drop precipitously, it’s been an incremental drop in ridership.”
When Rinaldi was writing his platform in early 2015, he said he spoke with students who recognized the lack of transportation back to campus as a problem.
“When Eric [Hamilton, TSG’s chief of staff] and I were writing part of our platform, it seemed that there was a problem with the current TUr Door and OwlLoop because students wanted to come back to campus and there was nothing to bring you back,” Rinaldi said.
There will be eight locations that will pick students up and drop them off on campus—Tyler School of Art, White Hall, Morgan Hall, Johnson and Hardwick, Fox School of Business, The Tech Center, the IBC and The Student Center.
Students who live off-campus are looking forward to trying out the new service.
“When I go to the Tech I make a day out of it and I have to prepare myself to go, but if the shuttle picked me up I could go on a whim,” said sophomore media studies and production major Melissa Payavis. Payavis lives off-campus, on the 1500 block of Fontain St.
The main reason why the new system was implemented is student safety.
“We needed to find ways to get students to and from campus to keep students safe,” Rinaldi said.
Sophomore advertising student Lauren Marks agreed safety is important on campus.
“Things do happen on this campus just walking places and it’s been during the daytime and at night, so I think any way to get students off the streets is a good thing,” said Marks.
Both Gottlieb and Rinaldi have high hopes for the service.
“I would expect and would be disappointed if we didn’t have ridership of almost 3,000 riders per week immediately. We might even see 4,000 riders per week,” Gottlieb said.
Rinaldi’s goals are more technically oriented than Gottlieb’s. He anticipates making the app accessible on Tech Center computers as well as putting a kiosk in the lobby to allow students to request rides there as well.
“We’re also looking to add this to the Tech Center and have a desktop icon to request ride and also trying to get a kiosk in the tech center so people can stay inside while requesting a ride.”
Flight is expected to begin service on Mar. 14.
Jonathan Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jonnygilbs96.