As ridership continues to grow, Kansas University is adding a route to its SafeBus system and increasing the frequency of downtown pickups.
The buses operate during the school year on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m., said Marcus Tetwiler, a KU junior from Paola and the KU on Wheels transportation coordinator.
The SafeBus service is designed to give students a safe ride home from the downtown area, Tetwiler said. Students can ride for free with a KU ID card, and they can have one guest.
The bus route will add a route running from downtown to Clinton Parkway and Wakarusa Drive for the next school year, expanding the number of apartment complexes that the service reaches.
It already has routes running from downtown to campus and to 31st and Iowa streets.
The routes will be reorganized and there will be more pickups at 14th and Tennessee streets, Tetwiler said. Pickups will be every 10 minutes at that location instead of every 30.
Tetwiler said the service wasn’t necessarily intended just for drunken people, and he hoped more frequent bus stops would cut down on crowds.
“Riders aren’t going to feel as comfortable getting on the buses if it’s jam-packed and it’s kind of an ‘Animal House’ atmosphere,” he said.
When the program started in the 2007-08 year, it had just more than 10,377 riders, according to data from Margretta de Vries, an administrative professional at the KU Parking Department. In 2011-12, that figure had grown to more than 76,000.
“It’s definitely demand-based,” Tetwiler said.