Bear Bus shuttle could roar to life

 “Exactly 20 minutes,” Oakland University Student Congress legislator Brett McIsaac said as he put his Volkswagen in park in P-11.

He and OUSC student services director Jarret Schlaff are hoping to have Oakland University’s Bear Bus operate during peak hours throughout the week.

The route they’re proposing takes 20 minutes, and with both Bear Bus shuttles running throughout campus, that means students could get picked up or dropped off every 10 minutes if their plan is approved.

They rode the Bear Bus last week to get the drivers’ opinions on where stops should be made and what the route should be and did test runs Tuesday in McIsaac’s car to time the length of the route.

Figuring in the 45 seconds of waiting time at each of the nine stops, the total ride time would be 20 minutes.

Each of the stops would require a sign or flag advertising it. McIsaac and Schlaff would also want to distribute maps to students.

Once they have costs for gas and maintenance figured out, they’ll be presenting their proposal to the administration.

“If they approve it, they’re only approving a (one to two month) trial period,” Schlaff said.

McIsaac was named OU Student Congress legislator of the month at their last meeting Monday for his work with the Bear Bus proposal.

Currently, McIsaac and Schlaff hope to have the service run Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 “We’re starting out with just four hours a day,” McIsaac said. “If it proves to be a success, we hope to extend it.”

Stops include P-11 and University Drive Circle. They were going to have the route include Squirrel Road and Walton Boulevard to avoid campus traffic, but they said it added another mile as well as five minutes.

Schlaff and McIsaac said another issue was getting drivers during the week.

“We will be actively seeking out student drivers,” Schlaff said. “All you need is a chauffer’s license to apply.”

According to the proposal, University Housing would pay the drivers.

The service would be free for all OU students.

“And you can’t say we’re not keeping OU students physically fit: We have a stop at the Rec Center,” McIsaac said as he approached the final stop on the shuttle route.

While they were testing the route last week, McIsaac said that a student outside the Recreation Center asked, “You guys giving rides around campus?”

“Not yet, man,” McIsaac answered.