Shuttle offers free transportation

Oakland University students can now visit select Rochester destinations without needing a car.


The OU Shuttle Service, which travels as far as downtown Rochester, began last weekend. 


Dave Tindall, assistant director of residence life, said Housing discussed “how nice it’d be for students to get to these locations and not have to move cars.”


In an e-mail, Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Beth Snyder, said the university had talked with community leaders about partnering with either SMART bus or the Older Persons Commission, but ultimately decided they could provide their own transportation on a smaller scale.


The shuttle service, which consists of two black, 12-passenger Ford cargo vans, will run every weekend during the school year, weather permitting.


One shuttle ran this weekend to test out the system and collect data. The second van will be introduced Thursday for the inaugural ride at 5:15 p.m.


The current schedule is Fridays from 6 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.


Tindall said students can call either the Housing Department or the front desk of Hamlin Hall to reserve the shuttle on Wednesdays and Thursdays for runs to Meijer and Wal-Mart.


The shuttle, which is paid for by the president’s office and OU Housing, is free to ride for students, faculty and staff who show a valid OU ID to the driver. Tindall said a card-swipe program will be installed in a few weeks.


The shuttle begins at Hamlin Circle in front of a “Shuttle Van Stop” sign, where it waits for 10 minutes while students get on or off. It then makes a similar stop at the 4000 building of the university’s student apartments. After that, the shuttle goes off campus and heads east on Walton Boulevard.


At the corner of Walton Boulevard and Adams Road, it stops at University Square in front of Busch’s. From there the shuttle crosses Adams Road and tours the Village Mall, stopping at the Parisian and then the Whole Foods Market. The next stop is Buffalo Wild Wings at the corner of Walton Boulevard and Livernois Road.


The final stop before heading back to OU is downtown Rochester, where the shuttle parks at Mind, Body & Spirits restaurant at Main and Third streets.


The other shuttle will visit the same locations but travel in the opposite direction so there’s one inbound shuttle and one outbound. The goal is that a shuttle will visit each location every half hour.


The program currently has five drivers, but they are looking for one or two more.


Justin Rettger, one of the drivers, said he found the job on He said after they are hired, drivers need to obtain a chauffeur’s license, which requires passing a 15 question test and paying a $35 fee.


“We hope the demand is there and will certainly add hours of service in the future as needed,” Snyder said.