Bon voyage! Sheridan launches free shuttle bus service


Bus driver, Sujeewa Atapattugama, stands next to one of the shuttles at the Trafalgar Campus before starting the 1 p.m route.

Bus driver Sujeewa Atapattugama stands next to one of the shuttles at the Trafalgar Campus before starting the 1 p.m. route.

Staff and students are getting a free ride, literally.

College commuters have a new inter-campus shuttle bus service, introduced Sept. 3, to transport students and staff to all three of Sheridan’s campuses for free.

This new transit system comes after a year’s worth of work between the college and the Student Union. It was created in the hopes of easing stressful and time-consuming commutes between the Trafalgar, Davis, and Hazel McCallion campuses located across Oakville, Brampton, and Mississauga, according to Student Union President Jenna Pulver.

The SU and the college needed to work together to find a solution to the need for better transportation between campuses, said Pulver.

“We figured it would be a great opportunity for students and staff to both utilize the service to go to all campuses. So we partnered together to go through all the different companies and select a company to go with,” she added.

The transportation company chosen was Voyageur, who provided two temporary buses until Sheridan’s official coach-style shuttle buses, labeled Student Union and Sheridan and equipped with free Wi-Fi, recharging stations and bike racks, arrive in mid-October.

Although the shuttle bus stops are currently located outside of the B-wing at Trafalgar, the Starbucks at Hazel McCallion, and the Student Union Building at Davis, Trafalgar is the only location with a noticeable bus stop.

However, Elisabeth Connell, manager of Ancillary Services, confirmed that official bus stops signs would be added soon.

Connell said that the Student Union kept the student at the heart of all their decisions and played an integral role in the evaluation process of the potential service providers.

“As a result, we chose a great shuttle service. We know that improvements to the schedule and the inclusion of additional pick up and drop off locations will eventually be made, but we really wanted to start the school year with something,” she said. “We will be taking all of the comments and suggestions into consideration and making improvements to the service as time progresses.”

Ian Marley, vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, agreed that there may still be a few kinks to iron out.

“We’ve had questions about the schedule. That was the best guess by people here and by the Voyageur company on how to manoeuver. I know there’s an issue with HMC, they can’t get to first morning class. We’re going to be looking at that going forward, and how we’ll adjust,” he said.

Currently, the two shuttle buses are simultaneously routing northbound (Trafalgar, HMC, Davis) and southbound (Davis, HMC, Trafalgar), and run every hour from 7:05 a.m. until the last pickup at 6 p.m.

But issues surrounding scheduling and locations were not the only obstacles to overcome.

Marley added that the original idea of creating a universal bus pass across Oakville, Mississauga and Brampton would have cost students around $95 a term.

“Through the Student Union, that was found to be a bit high,” said Marley. “Right now it’s free, so even if we did start charging $5 a term, or $10 a term, it’s quite a bit cheaper.”

Marley said it’s too early to tell how many students are currently using the shuttle buses, and that there are presently no plans to fund the shuttle service through added student tuition fees.

“It’s being funded both through the Student Union and the college together,” said Pulver.

“We’re satisfied with how popular it’s been so far,” she added. It’s kind of surprising to us, so we’re excited to kind of see the opportunity and where it goes and see where this leads us after this year.”