In this September 28, 2017, file photo, Lehigh students wait at the bus stop next to the Campus Connecter bus on Packer Ave. Transportation Services announced in an email that there will be new bus routes in effect on Friday, March 29, 2019. (David Kroll/B&W Staff)

New Lehigh bus system to start on Friday

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Transportation Services announced earlier today in an email to the campus community that major changes to the transit system will launch on Friday, March 29, as part of the university’s Connections plan.

Starting Friday, TRACS and the Mountaintop Express routes will be officially eliminated. Packer Express will continue to run along with an extended Campus Connector route. Both the Packer Express and Campus Connector will be extending their hours to accommodate.

The Packer Avenue bus stop will also be replaced by the addition of three new stops: Whitaker at Webster and Packer avenues, STEPS at Vine Street and Packer Avenue and Farrington Square.

A new stop will also be created and added to the Campus Connector route at Mechanic and New streets in South Bethlehem. All other stops will remain the same.

With the addition of new buses, according to a Transportation Services staff member, which will include five Campus Connector buses in service during peak hours, a bus will come to a given stop every 10 minutes.

“On the Asa Packer campus, all buses will serve all stops,” the staff member said.

The staff member also said that the Campus Connector buses will run in both directions. Students will need to pay attention to the direction of the bus they wish to board. For example, Campus Connector buses will either say “To Saucon Village” or “To South Side” depending on the direction the bus is traveling.

The Packer Express will remain on a one-way loop.

Packer Express will also continue to only operate on weekdays, with one bus operating between 6:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Campus Connector will operate between 6:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. on weekdays. Currently, buses are only operational between 7:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. on weekdays, with the exception of TRACS.

Campus Connector will also extend weekend hours to 10 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. Packer Express will not operate on weekends.

The Connections plan is part of a larger effort to bring parking and transportation on campus in line with the university’s Path to Prominence plan.

The Transportation Services staff member said that AccessLU, a means of getting around campus for mobility-challenged individuals, will be launched in the coming months.

The email, co-signed by Bob Bruneio, the manager of Transportation Services, and Mark Ironside, the executive director of University Business Services, said the goal is to implement these changes to the transit system “so that students, faculty and staff can begin to use the system and provide feedback about the routes, bus stop locations and times during the next few months so that we can make adjustments.”

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