Campus-provided transportation increasing
Getting from here to there isn’t a problem for many of those attending, or working, at Purdue Calumet. Two vehicles are at their disposal – a six-passenger van and a 20-passenger bus.
The Peregrine Express Shuttle is a free service that transports students and employees to local destinations; and the 20-passenger bus allows for faculty, staff and students to get to their destinations of sports events, field trips, meetings, etc.
The service began in 2006, as a response to the needs of students living on-campus and employees (for the van) and larger groups and athletic teams (for the bus). An outside transportation business, Laidlaw Bus Company, supplied the vehicles and the service, until the campus took over in 2009, purchasing its own vehicles.
“The biggest change I’ve seen is the 20-passenger mini-bus going from 2-3 charter trips per month in 2009, to 15-16 per month in 2012,” said Diana Williams, campus transportation crew chief. “And, from the daily on-demand shuttle side, I’ve added an additional hour of service in the mornings.”
The latter change came about due to several requests from students and faculty members commuting from Chicago to campus.
Mechanical Engineering Professor Yeow Siow is one of those travelers, arriving on campus each school day from the big city.
“This transportation is wonderful, and essential for many of us,” Siow said. “We couldn’t do without it.”
The last morning train from the city arrives at the East Chicago train station at 11:33 a.m., according to Williams. “So, now that gives our passengers three options for being picked up from the train station daily (8:44 a.m., 9:30 a.m. or 11:33 a.m.),” Williams added. “In addition to that, ridership had increased so much that our students living on campus had little to no opportunity to do grocery shopping. Because of that, my manager, Mark LaCien, and I implemented the Sunday Grocery Shuttle in November 2009.”
This added service is available on Sundays to University Village Housing residents only, which offers four hours of continuous shuttles to Ultra Foods and Food 4 Less grocery stores. The service also provides the opportunity for University Village residents without transportation to shop, dine and attend social and community events, Williams added.
There are many other benefits to the service as well, according to Williams
“(Once we purchased our own vehicles) I saw a sense of pride in the students riding their own bus, with Purdue Calumet branding – as opposed to a yellow school bus. Also, the university saves a huge amount of money annually by operating its own transportation unit.”
Janice Hero, an administrative assistant in the Health, Recreation & Sports Department, said her department has been using the bus since it first became available. “Our department uses the Peregrine Express bus to transport athletic teams to competitions,” she said. “Having this transportation available for our athletic teams has been a tremendous help to our department. Not to mention, arriving at a competition in a bus marked with your school logo is also a boost to team spirit and advertises our school brand.”
Hero added that Williams and her staff are extremely accommodating with their customer service.
“With athletic teams, schedules change, game times change and there’s also conference playoffs, where the schedule is unknown until sometimes the day before the competition,” Hero said. “Diana has always worked hard to accommodate her customer (in this case –us, the athletic department) and we appreciate her efforts.”
The shuttle van is free of charge for students, faculty and staff used daily, primarily by appointments only. The 20-passenger bus is used by university departments and sponsored student organizations. It can be rented for up to 10 hours a day at $18 per hour, plus an additional $1.35 per mile.
All riders are required to make reservations through the Student Union & Library or University Village staff. In addition, rides may be obtained on-the-spot if the Shuttle is available.
For more information about van or bus transportation, visit or call the Information Center in the Student Union & Library (ext. 2400).