By Jackie ParsonsSTAFF WRITER
Its official title is the “Night Shuttle,” but its unofficial name among Hofstra students is the “drunk bus.” “Nobody calls it the Night Shuttle or the Hofstra shuttle,” said freshman Matt Durant, “It’s the ‘drunk bus’ or the ‘drunk shuttle.’ Their purpose is to get you around to bars.”
The Night Shuttle was created with the intention of providing students who live in the neighborhoods surrounding Hofstra with a safe ride home from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., according to the Night Shuttle page on the Hofstra Portal. The shuttle stops at 18 designated areas on and around Hofstra’s campus, ranging from Colonial Square to California Ave.
Two stops in particular catch students’ attention: the stop at the Hofstra Information Center and the stop at Meadowbrook Road. These are close to Social Sports Kitchen and McHebe’s, the two being bars that Hofstra students frequent on the weekends. Instead of using the shuttle to get to their homes off campus, students are using the shuttle to get to and from a night out.
“From C-Square we took two stops on campus and got to Social in probably 10 minutes total,” said Matt Durant. “It’s more convenient than walking and taking cars.”
“I think that particularly the route that it takes is very useful for students who happen to want to go out and party,” said sophomore Rachael Durant. “It tends to go by some of the more popular party spots and party streets and, you know, in the cold winter it is a little bit easier to get to places when it’s snowing if you take the warm ‘drunk shuttle’ as opposed to walking there.”
Karen O’Callaghan, Director of Public Safety, is part of the task force that helped develop the Night Shuttle, disagrees that the “drunk bus” nickname should be used to describe the shuttle’s relationship with Hofstra’s on-campus and off-campus community.
“We did not design the shuttle to stop at bars in particular,” O’Callaghan said. “I don’t think it’s the ‘drunk bus,’ but I could be mistaken. If that’s the case, I hope students would reconsider, but that’s [the bus] really for their safety.”
O’Callaghan explained how the stops were created: the task force plotted the local addresses of students who live off-campus. After plotting the addresses on a map, they identified locations that were safe for stopping to load and unload students without disrupting those living in the residential areas around campus.
Though the students and O’Callaghan may call it by different names, the bus ridership has been successful. According to O’Callaghan, nearly 2500 students used the shuttle between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in February alone. Although O’Callaghan said that the purpose of the shuttle is not for providing students with a ride to social outings, she makes it clear that Public Safety is pleased with the turnout for users of the service.
“I did not anticipate that we would get the amount of usage that we do,” O’Callaghan said. “The ridership has been fantastic, and as a result, we’ve had no issues to date.”
Students, having created the additional name for the shuttle, have recognized that even if the purpose is not for it to be the “drunk bus,” the University’s service is keeping many late-night commuters out of unsafe situations. After a series of unsafe incidents early in the fall semester, students are happy to have an alternative method to walking at night, regardless of their purpose.
“It helps with student safety in terms of not having a bunch of drunk students wandering around the streets of Hempstead late into the night,” said Durant. “I think it actually shows that Hofstra listened to student concerns about safety and needing something like this, and they actually implemented fairly quickly.”
Durant said she is happy with the shuttle’s presence, mentioning that she has tested the service with her friends.
“I’ve only taken it once, but now that we know how it works, we’ll probably take it again,” Durant said.
Whether it is called the Hofstra Night Shuttle or the “drunk bus,” O’Callaghan said the shuttle serves one purpose.
“The one thing I want people to understand [is that] the purpose is to get people to and from campus safely,” O’Callaghan said.