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After pulling funding from Bull City Connector, Duke starts its own shuttle downtown

The University announced last year it would redirect funding from the public shuttle into a Duke-specific one. That shuttle—which will require a Duke Card to access—will begin service Monday.

Courtesy of Duke Today
Courtesy of Duke Today

For Duke students and personnel traveling between downtown Durham and Duke's campus, transportation may soon become less of a worry.

The University will be piloting a new shuttle route serving eight stops including Research Drive, Duke Hospital and the Chesterfield Building. The two shuttles will begin running on July 2 and operate between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m on weekdays. A valid DukeCard will be required to board the shuttle.

The new shuttle route comes after the renovation of the Chesterfield Building, which was completed in December 2017 and housed two biomedical engineering labs in the Spring 2018 semester. Previously, the University offered a free Uber program to help transport students to the building. 

“The space is a stellar upgrade because it's much larger, so we have a much larger footprint than the other ad-hoc space on campus. It's also equipped with the latest generation equipment to allow students to really not be impeded by any of the instrumentation that they have to use,” Mark Palmeri, associate professor of the practice of biomedical engineering, told The Chronicle in February 2018.

The route will also provide service for Duke employees living in the Durham downtown area.

“The Duke Health System’s presence is increasing across the region,” said Kyle Cavanaugh, vice president for administration, in a Duke Today article. “Departments like Duke Clinical Research Institute and Duke Department of Population Health Sciences are showing tremendous growth.” 

The new shuttle will run this route Monday to Friday. | Courtesy of Duke Today

The Carolina Livery shuttles—which offer complimentary WiFi—can seat 30 passengers each and are handicap accessible. After six months, the University will analyze the popularity of the route to determine whether service will continue.

Previously, Duke pitched in to fund the public, fare-free Bull City Connector that ran up and down Main Street. The University cut its funding for the shuttle in half in 2017 and cut it out completely in 2018.

“We look at funding, but the contribution that Duke was making to the service was only a fraction of what it actually, truly costs,” Terry Bellamy, director of the city’s transportation department, told The Chronicle in November 2017.

As of the end of May, the city was still considering the future of the fare-free route, according to a report by the Durham Herald-Sun.

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