ODU Launches Monarch Transit Service with New Shuttle Buses and Expanded Routes
August 20, 2015
Old Dominion recently launched "Monarch Transit," an enhanced transportation initiative that introduces new routes and a fleet of five 20-passenger buses that will be driven and managed by University staff.
The new program replaces contracted shuttle services that were in use at ODU for the previous 10 years. The new, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible, 20-passenger buses will join the University's four, 12-passenger, Safe Ride vans to complement campus transportation services.
Last year's "Monarch Loop" was upgraded to the new "Blue Route" and in response to student requests; the new "Silver Route" will circulate the main Norfolk campus in the opposite direction with new stops. Together, these routes will provide more connections between residence halls, academic buildings, and parking lots and garages on campus. Weekend off-campus service to Kroger and Wal-Mart; and Ghent and MacArthur Center will remain.
ODU Transportation and Parking Services will operate the newly purchased buses, each of which is emblazoned with a large photo of University mascot Big Blue. Beyond the Monarch Pride the attractive new buses are expected to instill, there are numerous other benefits associated with the new bus service, including:
- Customer service improvements: As ODU employees, shuttle drivers will be invested in student success and have the tools and direct communication to resolve customer inquiries such as lost items. Integrated software on the ODU Mobile App allows combined live shuttle bus tracking and Safe Ride dispatch requests. System notifications can post alerts about service changes due to weather or special events.
- Cost savings: With University ownership of the system, cost savings will be realized through lower fuel and maintenance costs and the ability to distribute special event revenue back into the system.
- Technology integration: The new shuttle bus fleet will utilize the same app/website (RideCell) that students are already comfortable using for Safe Ride. Additionally, RideCell's proven vehicle management and tracking system will provide more accurate arrival predictions and enable students to customize notifications.
- New features: Each shuttle bus will have digital signboards to clearly identify the bus routes; racks for two bicycles; safety cameras; radio dispatching; and a digital pre-trip safety inspection tracking system.
Scott Silsdorf, director of transportation and parking services, said the new system enhancements were developed in close cooperation with the Student Government Association.
"We met regularly with student leaders last year, and even coordinated a test-run of the new Silver Route in operation with 15 students providing direct feedback," he said. "I'm excited to offer these new improvements to the system - please hop on the shuttles and give them a try."
For more information, visit the Monarch Transit website.