While many students left campus for Fall Break, some of those who stayed behind headed for a day at the beach, courtesy of UM’s new shuttle service.
The beach shuttle service, which was one of the main points of interest in Student Government’s panel last year, began Oct. 1.
The shuttle, which runs from the University to Crandon Beach in Key Biscayne, runs every hour, taking about 25 minutes each way.
On the first day of operation three weeks ago, about 150 to 180 students took advantage of the shuttle, said sophomore Max Kelerstein, who checks students’ ‘Cane Cards when they get on the bus. Kelerstein checks for ‘Cane Cards so that the University can keep track of how many students take the bus and also because it wants to make sure only UM students are using the ride. Liability becomes less of a problem with only UM students riding, he said.
According to Kelerstein, the shuttles have been pretty busy since opening, though Sunday’s crowd was considerably smaller due to Fall Break.
Even so, on the last trip from the beach to UM, there were still enough riders to fill the entire bus. At 2 p.m. that day, the bus was only half-full at eight riders.
Sunday was freshmen Katelyn Vertucci and Amy Weber’s first ride on the beach shuttle. They, along with most others, got on board with a backpack and a towel.
“We’re going to enjoy the beach, swim and just hang out,” Weber said.
Vertucci said she learned of the beach shuttle from posters hung around her dorm hallway and in the residential college lobbies.
But others have used the beach shuttle already. Second-time rider Vivian Siu, senior, said it was worth it for students to use the shuttle.
“I think it’s a big advantage for UM students to take,” she said, adding that she likes Crandon Beach better than South Beach because there’s less of a crowd and she can walk around more easily.
According to Kelerstein, students usually bring beach balls, Frisbees, food and backpacks on the bus, but it doesn’t get too crowded. The students are laid-back during the bus ride, he said; most talk to each other, others listen to music and some do homework. Kelerstein makes sure there is even a movie, such as Keeping the Faith or Jerry Maguire playing on the in-bus television screen.
“People are happy they’re going to the beach, so they’re calm,” he said.
The shuttle leaves from Stanford Circle and Dickinson Drive starting at 10 a.m. The last bus from the beach back to UM leaves at 5 p.m.
The bus will run on Sundays through the rest of October but starting in November, it will run on both Saturdays and Sundays until Thanksgiving. No service is scheduled for the remainder of the semester, according to the schedule listed on UM’s web site.
Sam West can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.