Marguerite Shuttle adds stops, proposes route changes

Sept. 22, 2010, 2:05 a.m.

Changes are afoot for the Marguerite Shuttle system, Stanford’s free shuttle service. Several new stops have been added to the Shopping Express route and changes have been proposed for Line A, Line B and the Midnight Express.

According to a Sept. 10 announcement from Parking & Transportation Services (P&TS), three stops have been added to the Shopping Express route at Page Mill Road and El Camino near Palo Alto Square, Hansen Way and El Camino near Fry’s Electronics, and Maybell Avenue and El Camino near Walgreens, according to the Marguerite Shuttle website. The stops were added after a P&TS review of ridership data, stop locations, vehicles and service hours.

The changes are part of a wider P&TS goal to conserve fuel, reduce emissions, reduce operating costs and respond to customer feedback while “maintaining or improving service levels,” according to P&TS Director Brodie Hamilton.

Under the proposed changes, the current Line A would be split into the new Line A, which would travel in a one-way loop between the Palo Alto Transit Center and Campus Oval via the Medical Center and Cantor Arts Center, and Line D, which would travel between the Medical Center and Escondido Village via Serra Mall. Line B would be split into the new Line B, which would serve the western half of the current Line B route, and Line E, which would serve the eastern half of the current Line B.

Hamilton said changes to Line A were proposed due to current overlap with Line B. Changes to Line B were prompted by the high concentration of wheelchair users in the Medical Center area, which requires the deployment of the bigger Marguerite buses. Splitting the line into two routes would allow the deployment of smaller buses in the rest of campus, which would increase fuel economy for the system.

“We’re hoping with these changes that we’re saving hundreds of tons of CO2 emissions,” Hamilton said.

The Marguerite system serves an estimated 5,000 riders a day, according to Hamilton. Some have reacted positively to the proposed changes. Wai Liu, a fourth-year graduate student in statistics, said he welcomes the changes, especially the idea of splitting Line B into two routes.

“It’s good for me because the B line is too long to get me where I want to be,” Liu said. “Because it has to go all the way around campus, it’s often late. Splitting it into two will make it go on time.”

The Midnight Express would also be split into two routes to provide more frequent stops for riders.

The proposed changes would not require additional buses or drivers, nor would they incur additional costs, Hamilton said.

While some Marguerite routes like Lines A and B are closely aligned with the Caltrain schedule, which is facing budget shortfalls, the changes were not made in anticipation of any cuts in Caltrain times. Should a decision be made to change the Caltrain schedules, the Marguerite team would work to adjust the Marguerite schedule as needed.

P&TS is seeking comments from the public on the current iteration of the proposed route changes and will continue to accept comments on its website through Sept. 30.

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