Newcomer student transportation service OurBus is positioning itself as a challenger to Student Agencies, with recently expanded Ithaca service serving pop-up routes for school breaks and three new destinations in addition to its current New York City line.
Starting Friday, OurBus will offer buses connecting to Washington, D.C as well as Philadelphia and Allentown in Pennsylvania.
OurBus, a transportation company that relies on crowdsourced bus routes, has pursued expansion to more than two dozen college towns in the United States, Catherine Kadar, head of communications at OurBus, told The Sun in an email.
The company works with charter bus companies to provide transportation along routes throughout the Northeast.
According to an OurBus press release, the company also promises special routes out of Ithaca over fall and Thanksgiving breaks that will include White Plains, Albany and Long Island in New York, Boston, Paramus, New Jersey and Stamford, Connecticut.
“It’s extremely rare for a route of this magnitude to launch,” Axel Hellman, co-founder of OurBus, told The Sun. “We’re constantly listening to our customers, and there’s demand for efficient and inexpensive travel between upstate New York, and other locations beyond New York City.”
Currently, students can only book trips on Fridays and Sundays, but Hellman said that this could change in the future.
“We expect ridership to be very heavy over breaks. However, we realize it will be low at other times,” he said, in explanation for the two-day schedule. “Once passenger numbers improve, maybe by spring, we will add more days of the week.”
Hellman mentioned that the schedule can also be changed based on user feedback and encouraged the Cornell community to offer suggestions about the routes. In the future, Hellman said the company aims to further expand its routes out of Ithaca.
With additional routes, Hellman hopes to see an increase in people travelling out of Ithaca.
Samantha Matuke grad, planning and operations associate for OurBus, emphasized the need to assess student demand through surveys and feedback.
“We work to be responsive to what students want and need in Ithaca,” she said. “By going directly to the students, we make sure we have enough buses at the right time, going to the right place.”