St. John’s launched a shuttle bus program at the start of the semester that looks to improve the commute to the University, students’ access to city entertainment, and the interaction between campuses.
Four New York Sightseeing buses, provided by Coach USA, run routes to and from the Kew Gardens train station on Union Turnpike and Queens Blvd., entertainment destinations in the city and the St. John’s campuses in Staten Island and Manhattan.
“The [Q46, which] runs up and down Queens Blvd., is always packed, it’s standing room only,” said Jacquenette Lochrie, Associate Dean of Student Services. “Our local bus is a 47-passenger coach tour bus. They have reclining seats, individual lights. [You] have your own personal air conditioning vents. It’s like an airplane.”
The buses are free for all those with a valid Storm Card.
The program, which has been in the planning for several years, was implemented in response to student feedback stating that they did not have easy access to a train station or Manhattan.
“We listened to them and tried to address their needs and their concerns,” said Darren Morton, Associate Dean of Student Development. “Implementation of the service also had a lot to do with the opportunity for programming in New York City.”
The entertainment driven programs include special weekend bus routes that stop at Chelsea Piers and the AMC Movie Theater on 42nd Street. The local bus travels all week long on Union Turnpike and makes stops at Kew Gardens, the DePaul Houses, the Seton Complex (the newly acquired off-campus housing) and Gate 6.
According to Lochrie, the minimal number of stops increases the bus’s speed to campus compared to public transportation. The routes between the three campuses run from Monday to Friday.
“We want to have University-wide programming,” Lochrie said. “We want students from Manhattan and Staten Island to feel that they can not only go to class here but spend the whole day here and go back at night.”
The only time a non-St. John’s student can ride the buses is on weekends. They must be a University student’s only guest and have a valid “overnight guest pass.”
“We want to make sure St. John’s students are not left on the curb,” said Lochrie
The bus schedules and regulations can be found on the Student Service website and St. John’s Central. The buses run according to the class schedule. They will stop running on the last day of finals and will start again at the beginning of the spring semester. Buses do not run on holidays during which classes are not in session. Additional times and routes have already been added. More may be added upon student request, but the stops will remain the same.
“We are going to let it run for this year and then based on student input we may be able to add more stops,” Lochrie said.