August 26, 2004

Connecting Campuses

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Cornell Transportation Services is launching an express bus operation that aims to connect the Ithaca and New York City campuses of the University, President Jeffrey S. Lehman ’77 announced in an e-mail last month. The service, called Campus-to-Campus, will run from Cornell’s main campus in Ithaca to the Cornell Club and Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan and back.

“I believe that this type of service will promote the engagement of, and interaction among, colleagues and will facilitate interdisciplinary academic pursuits,” Lehman said, in the campus-wide e-mail.

With its full-sized, coach-style buses that will feature wide reclining seats and aisles, power outlets, worktables and task lighting, the bus service is aimed primarily toward business travel for faculty, alumni, and administration — although it is available to students as well. The travel time is approximated at four to four and a half hours, and will shuttle only 20 passengers in any given trip. The service will run eight times a week.

“The initial idea with this is to help connect for business purposes of the University, but we did want to make it available to people for personal use and we saw no reason to exclude students,” said David Lieb ’89, communications and marketing manager for transportation and mail services.

The standard price for the service one-way is $99 and round-trip is $149. At these prices — which compare to under $80 round-trip from regional bus services to New York City — the University does not expect to compete much for student ridership.

“We expect that most students will continue to ride Shortline [a regional bus service] if that is what they are doing now, but this is just an alternative if they desire,” Lieb said.

The idea for the express transportation resulted from a travel survey taken this past spring and will run in a trial period from Sept. 7 through the last weekday of classes on Dec. 17th.

“It is very much a trial period,” Lieb said. “We are being subsidized by the President’s office during this trial period. After this it has to sink or swim on its own. … We will be determining throughout the course of the semester if this is viable, our goal is to break even [not to turn a profit.],” he added.

University officials have praised the initiative for its attempt to connect the medical colleges with the College of Human Ecology and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“It’s a convenient travel option for Cornell faculty, staff and students and will undoubtedly support our goal of increasing research and educational linkages between the campuses,” said Lisa Staiano-Coico, dean of the College of Human Ecology.

The planners of the service stress that the express bus is not meant to replace other modes of transportation to and from school. In addition, the buses will not take passengers to the New York airports once in Manhattan, thereby subverting travel through the Ithaca Regional Airport.

“The service is not serving the airports. This is not meant in any way to replace Shortline or the air service, it is another choice in that continuum,” Lieb said.

Archived article by Erica Temel
Sun News Editor