The U will find you

Amherst sports bar starts privately busing students to its location

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When Jordan Mittenthal wanted to go from a house near South Campus to the up-and-coming bar scene near North Campus, he didn’t call a taxi. He called The U.

The U, which is just over 2 years old, has a new bus to shuttle students to and from its location for free. The U’s minibus was launched at the beginning of the school year. UB’s Stampede buses, which take students between North and South Campus regularly, started making trips to The U on the weekends last year.

But The U’s bus will now pick students up from their homes.

“The bus picked us up from my friend’s [University Height’s] home,” said Mittenthal, a senior economics major. “There were about 12 of us on the bus, just blasting music and getting excited to go out.”

This year, James Spano, the bar’s owner, organized the private bus to specifically service South Campus residents. The new bus service comes with a designated cellphone number, which students can call to make reservations for specific pickup locations.

“The U decided to invest in their own transportation in order to allow not only students from the UB campuses and the Villas access to the bar, but to provide students from all different schools [within the area] with a safe mode of transportation to The U free of charge,” Spano said.

UB Parking and Transportation and The U worked together so the Stampede will take students to the plaza the bar is in from 8:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The plaza also has a movie theater, a bar and music venue as well as restaurants.

Maria Wallace, director of Parking and Transportation Services, said the Student Association has been working on discount rate for students at the AMC movie theater, located next to The U.

“I believe the more late night options, the better off our students are,” Wallace said in an email.

Before the busing was in place, students living on South Campus had to either organize sober drivers or take cabs to and from the bar. Mittenthal said the new bus service allows for an easy and safe way to get to and from where he wants to go.

Spano hopes the new service will ultimately bring business to The U from more areas around Buffalo. The Stampede will still run its weekend schedule while The U’s private bus picks students up from whatever location they request.

“While we encourage reservations in advance, especially for larger parties, there is no restrictions on pick up locations,” Spano said. “We will find you.”

Spano said The U does not outsource transportation and that only experienced drivers operate the bus.

Alexa Bernstein, a senior speech pathology major, was pleasantly surprised about the new bus service.

“I have only been to The U one time,” said Bernstein, who lives near South Campus. “My friends and I had such trouble deciding who would be the designated driver and ultimately ended up taking a few cabs. It really just became expensive for such a short trip.”

Now that the new service is in place, Bernstein said she is eager to go back to The U with her friends.

“We had a great time when we were there and now it’s just going to be such an ease to go whenever we want,” Bernstein said.”

Last week, Common Council Member Rasheed Wyatt visited South Campus during rowdy party weekend. He told WIVB the giant parties “blew [his] mind.”

He said he plans to introduce legislation to reduce student partying. Some UB students understand that concern and think the new bus service could help ease tension within the Heights.

“Thursday through Saturday, South Campus is always loud and filled with students wherever you turn,” Bernstein said. “From packed homes to long lines outside bars and pizza places, it’s no wonder the local community is fed up with the noise coming from students all throughout the weekend.”

Bernstein said the new bus service could direct students toward the North Campus bar scene and away from parties in the Heights.

“I think students will definitely be interested in visiting The U more often now,” Bernstein said. “With a driver that will pick you up or drop you off at your home or any where on South Campus, why wouldn’t students take advantage of that?”

email: features@ubspectrum.com