SA offers students free ride to Buffalo International Airport
Airport shuttle remains a popular service for students
Corey Reisman used to pay $35 for a taxi ride from UB to the airport to travel home for spring break.
Now, the senior political science major can take a shuttle from UB to the airport for free, funded by the Student Association and his mandatory student activity fee.
This service, which has been provided by SA since Thanksgiving break in 2013, is funded by the SA and students’ mandatory student activity fees.
SA has spent over $13,000 so far this year on the service and has been quoted an additional $2,475 for this year’s spring break, according to SA President James Ingram. This past Thanksgiving break, Ingram reported 42 students took advantage of the service, while 192 students used the shuttle for winter break.
Students can choose to take the shuttle up until the time the shuttle actually leaves, so there is no count of how many students will be using it this spring break.
Ingram said letting the UB population know about the shuttle service is important because “otherwise we’re spending a decent amount of money on it, and if you don’t have enough students to go then it’s just kind of a wasted resource.”
The service was created by last year’s SA President Sam McMahon and has been continued by this year’s e-board.
“We budgeted for [the shuttle service] at the end of last year and I want to keep it going,” Ingram said. “I think it is a good service to offer students as long as they know to take advantage of it.”
This spring break, students have the option of 12 time slots departing on Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 and 11 time slots for buses returning to campus on Sunday, March 22.
“[I] wish they could’ve advertised it better for spring break,” said Jessica Lee, a sophomore business administration major. “I did not know there were shuttles for [break] and I called a taxi. I’m glad they're using the SA money in a way that benefits students that take a plane.”
Ingram said SA “was a little late to the table” in terms of marketing the shuttle service to UB students for Thanksgiving break last year. SA and Student Life sent emails to UB students advertising the service for winter break, which increased the number of students who took the shuttle. Ingram also said SA tried to spread the word through Facebook.
Students can reserve their shuttle seat at the Sub-Board I (SBI) ticket office in 221 Studen Union. Students must be undergraduates and must have their UB ID to receive a ticket.
Students can still use the shuttle without reserving a ticket, as long as the bus isn’t full and their UB ID is present when boarding, according to Ingram.
“A ticket gets you priority on the bus, but if someone shows up without a ticket and the bus isn’t full, we’ll let them on,” Ingram said. “You are running the risk that you won’t be able to get on if the bus is full though.”
The shuttle service departs from the Lee Loop on North Campus and travels to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
Reisman said the shuttle has never inconvenienced him and the ride is “always pleasant.”
“The UB shuttle has made traveling to the airport so easy and convenient, you avoid the hassle of taxi cabs and airport parking altogether,” said Christian Farah, a junior psychology major.
Each bus can seat up to 43 people and each student is able to bring two bags, according to Ingram.
Lorenzo Guzman, the general services manager for SBI, said students who use the shuttle are eligible for one departing and one returning ticket.
“Students took to it very well,” Guzman said. “The only downside is that South Campus students have to get to North Campus for the earlier time slots.”
The first airport shuttle departs UB at 4:30 a.m. – well before the first UB Stampede bus will begin picking up students, and runs until 4 p.m. on Friday. The first shuttle Saturday leaves at 4:30 a.m. and the last at 11 a.m.
Although the airport shuttle has been offered for the Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks, it hasn’t been offered for the beginning or end of the school year.
Ingram said that’s because students are packing more and when they are going home after the school year, they usually drive.
But for trips home during the school year, SA’s shuttle service offers students a free and convenient method of getting to the airport.
“I am glad to see that my mandatory student activity fee is being put into a program that benefits students in many ways,” Farah said.
Charles W Schaab is an assistant news editor and can be reached at email@example.com