Nicole Lidstrom also contributed reporting to this article.
Last weekend, Williamsburg Area Transport, in partnership with the College of William and Mary’s Parking and Transportation services, reinstated two stops on the Gold line. At the start of the semester, Gold line stops to the Graduate Student Housing Complex and the Marshall-Wythe School of Law had been suspended. Last Saturday, the two stops were reinstated at 7, 9 and 11 p.m.
The Green and Gold lines of the Williamsburg transit system are managed and regulated by Parking Services. However, the bus system does use WAT buses and also includes stops that connect with other WAT-regulated bus routes.
The Green line schedule, which operates daily until 5 p.m., runs throughout campus and did not undergo any changes to its schedule. The Gold line runs limited stops from the Ludwell Apartments to New Town after 5 p.m.
“The bus service always undergoes modification over the summer based on rider-ship data from last year,”
Bill Horatio, the College’s Parking and Transportation Manager said. “Based on that, we decided to make changes to the route.”
The amendments to the Gold line were based on lack of demand at the suspended stops last year with buses often returning empty in the evening.
Concern over harm to the local environment also played a key role in the decision.
“We had significant complaints about environmental issues, with diesel buses making trips out there with no one riding them,” Horacio said.
According to Horacio, it came to the attention of Parking Services at the beginning of this semester that up to 45 riders depended upon the Gold line for its stops at the Law School and the Grad Complex.
Over the summer, recognizing the new demand, the office amended the Gold line and an adjusted schedule was implemented Saturday.
Horacio said three additional loops from the Sadler Center to the Grad Complex will be implemented at 7, 9 and 11 p.m.
Last year, the WAT route had two buses going in opposite directions along the Gold Line route.
As to the concerns involving buses running to Ludwell, Horacio said that no changes were made to the existing schedule.
The Green and Gold lines will continue to run to the three Ludwell stops.
With a reduction of last year’s schedule, other campus transportation services such as Campus Escort said that they may have to consider changing their policies if demand for rides increases.
“I think we will wait and see how the first several weeks go,” Mallory Johnson ’10, Alpha Phi Omega Project Head for the service fraternity-run Campus Escort, said. “If there is a substantial increase, we might have to look at different ways to accommodate the students’ needs to get safe transportation and increase our presence on campus.”
Currently, Escort is available for on-campus rides on weekdays and Sundays from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and weekends from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Steer Clear, s student-run transportation service funded by the Student Assembly, runs both on and off-campus rides on Thursdays from 10:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 9:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.
Both services are free to students of the College.
In the meantime, a revised bus schedule can be found on the at Parking Services website and hard copies are currently being printed to be posted at each shelter.
“We continue to look at ways to support other destinations,” Horacio said. “However, it is difficult with a single bus on the route to include all points on and off campus and do so within a reasonable amount of time.”