BearWALK restricts door-to-door shuttle hours

Nathaniel Solley/File

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UC Berkeley’s student-night-safety service, BearWALK, has significantly cut the hours of operation of its door-to-door shuttle service in an effort to decrease wait times, replacing the shuttles with pedestrian escorts.

Door-to-door shuttle service now begins at 4 a.m., instead of 2 a.m., and continue to operate until 5:30 a.m. The walking escort service has been extended by two hours, to 4 a.m., to compensate for the shuttles’ shortened hours of operation. The Bear Transit Night Safety Shuttle service will continue to be offered from 7:30 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Carol Alfano, safety program administrator for BearWALK services, said a committee consisting of UCPD officials, parking officials and ASUC representatives was assembled and looked at the entire night-safety program during meetings in May and June to see how it could be improved.

“(The door-to-door shuttle time changes) were very well received, and wait times went down,” Alfano said. “People really don’t mind walking, because you have an escort.”

The changes were tested during the summer and will be continued throughout the academic year because of their positive public reception. However, some students have unfavorable views of the changes.

“The (door-to-door shuttle) services are really needed for people who live far from campus,” said Claudia Gonzalez, a UC Berkeley senior. “The changes could dissuade me from using BearWALK because I would have to wait for a shuttle or an escort to come, and it would just be faster to walk by myself.”

According to UCPD spokesperson Lt. Eric Tejada, both students and the police department were concerned that late-night waiting times for escort services were getting too long. In some instances, students had to wait 30 minutes for the door-to-door shuttle ride home.

“It was tough dealing with the early-morning hours and getting people the services that they wanted,” Tejada said. “Now, wait times have decreased.”

Contact Jane Nho at [email protected].