After two years of upgrades, students will finally have access to Cornell’s first free late-night transportation system — the Big Red Shuttle. Starting Friday, buses will be available to all Cornell students and run from midnight to 3 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night, as well as on select high-risk nights like Halloween.
“We differentiate the Big Red Shuttle as being the first free, student-run, on-campus transportation system,” said Danielle Charpentier ’17, co-director of the program. “Unlike the TCAT, [the shuttle runs] until 3 a.m., and unlike taxis, we are reliable and free.”
The Big Red Shuttle exclusively serve members of the Cornell Community and student IDs will be checked individuals board the bus, according to Simone Klein ’17, co-director of the program.
“Since the service is exclusive to Cornell students or personal guests of students, it is a lot safer than the TCAT where you could encounter people unaffiliated with the school,” Klein said.
The Big Red Shuttle will have eight stops in its 20-minute route, according to Charpentier. In addition to a bus driver — either from the TCAT or a Cornell transportation service — there will be Big Red Managers on the shuttle as well to help run the bus.
“The Big Red Shuttle employs two students as student aids to facilitate students boarding and leaving the shuttle,” Charpentier said. “These employees are trained by Cayuga’s Watchers and the Women’s Resource Center in bystander intervention to provide a safe experience.”
Founded in 2011 by the Cornell Women’s Resource Center, the Big Red Shuttle was originally designed as a purely academic resource to get students home safely after studying late at night during exam periods, Klein said.
Klein explained that a committee of around 12 students and some faculty members was formed in the spring of 2014 to “think of a better way to provide late night transportation for students.”
“[The committee] looked into the infrastructure of the pre-existing Big Red Shuttle and decided to expand it because that wasn’t really being fully utilized,” she said.
Klein called the Big Red Shuttle a “pretty unique initiative” started by students.
“There has already been really great positive feedback,” she said. “We expect this to be successful and hopefully the University will pick up on that and expand the program in the future.”