WMU students test drive new late-night bus service

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Photo of Kalamazoo Metro Transit bus.

Trial period to determine if expanded hours are needed.

KALAMAZOO--A Western Michigan University student government initiative is allowing University students to "test drive" late-night bus service between the WMU campus and Kalamazoo community locations.

Late night service on four Metro Transit community routes began Jan. 9 and will run Monday through Thursday each week through March 1 to determine if there is sufficient student ridership to continue. Rides on the four lines will cost $1.50 in exact change after 10 p.m., and will dramatically extend the hours students can use the bus service to travel back and forth between the campus and off-campus locations. Final arrivals on campus for the four routes range from 11:57 p.m. to 12:55 a.m.

The four routes with expanded hours and the times of their last arrivals on campus are:

  • West Michigan #3 Route, which will arrive on campus at 12:55 a.m.
  • Lovell St. #16 Route, arriving on campus at 11:57 p.m.
  • Solon/Kendall #21 Route, arriving on campus at 12:30 a.m.
  • Lafayette St. #22 Route, with a final campus arrival of 12:12 a.m.

According to Erin Kaplan, president of the Western Student Association, the need for extended hours to and from key off-campus locations was a recurring message heard when WSA asked for student input. WSA took a request to the University, talking first with Bob Miller, associate vice president for community outreach, and then to Jan VanDerKley, vice president for business and finance.

"We asked, and WMU responded," Kaplan says. "We've had terrific response and support from the WMU administration, the Office of Sustainability, Metro Transit and Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. Together, we developed this trial period to see if this is a service that our students can use and support."

The expanded hours are for Metro Transit lines only and do not include Bronco Transit routes. Visit broncotransit.com/latenight for complete schedules, including the time of each route's last campus departure and arrival. Late night hours will be monitored for usage and evaluated when the trial period ends March 1.

"Students asked and WMU listened," Kaplan says. "Now it's up to us to use this new service."