Huskie Line faces route, design revamp


Sophomore kinesiology major Mitchell Rodriguez waits for the No. 11 weekend break circle route bus on Blackhawk Road Sunday. Huskie Bus Line routes will be revamped with input from students who will participate in focus groups. New routes will be introduced in the fall.

By Augustin Zehnder

The Huskie Bus Line will see widespread changes involving student input on routes and possible student-created designs for the buses.

The changes are being implemented as part of the Student Association’s spring strategic plan, which focuses on experience, safety and health and sustainability. Student Association President Joe Frascello said he and Brett Williams, SA director of Mass Transit, discussed changes to the bus system after Williams brought up the extension of Lucinda Avenue, estimated to be complete by the fall.

As part of the Master Plan Thesis, Douglas Hall was deconstructed to allow the extension of Lucinda Avenue to Stevenson Hall, allowing for a more connected, 10-minute campus.

After Williams created a map of potential Huskie Bus Line routes, Frascello said the next step was for students to be involved. The new student-centered Huskie Bus Line will be rebranded as the HUSKIELINE.


Student input will directly impact the new bus routes. The SA will hold focus groups throughout the semester so students can talk about the routes. The first focus group is 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Campus Life Building, Room 180. Other focus groups will be announced as the semester progresses.

An emphasis on student involvement is simply what students deserve, said Brett Williams, SA director of Mass Transit.

“We want to emphasize to students that they are the ones who control the HUSKIELINE,” Williams said. “You pay for the service; you should be able to dictate where the service goes.”

Williams said he hopes the focus groups will help Mass Transit identify problematic routes while preserving ones that work well.

“We want students to come up and say, ‘Hey, we like this route, don’t touch this route,’ or ‘This route is really inefficient. It doesn’t suit our needs,’” Williams said.

Joe Palmer, SA director of Public Affairs, said the final goal for the HUSKIELINE is a flexible system responsive to student trends. Depending on student feedback, routes could be altered throughout the academic year to reflect changing movement off and across campus. He said the SA hopes to have ongoing focus groups each semester to determine what students want.

“Perhaps we want the routes to be different when there’s snow on the ground; we want the routes to be different when it’s basketball season,” Palmer said. “So, I think that flexibility becomes key, that we keep this a running dialogue, so students can put in their input on a more running basis.”

Freshman psychology major Jazzmin Ruiz said she has no problems with the current bus routes. She lives on campus and mostly uses the bus to get to the shopping centers on Sycamore Road, she said.

“… It’s a pretty good system,” Ruiz said. “People stay to their seats. The bus drivers do their job.”

Sophomore acting major Brandon Austra said students sometimes have to make a choice between riding on the bus and getting to class on time.

“You see the bus you want to get on over at the Holmes Student Center when you’re over at [Stevenson] … you have to make a decision,” Austra said.


The color and design scheme on all 23 Huskie buses can be changed, Williams said.

There are no concrete plans yet as to what the design will look like; however, Williams said he envisions a student-oriented design where students can have a direct say in how the buses look. He said the SA hopes to hold design contests in which students can compete to display their artwork on the buses, on bus wrappings or vinyl signs.

“But if you really imagined it, if you see a new Huskie bus, that in my mind just reenergizes the base,” Williams said. “The students, now they understand, ‘Hey, I helped design that!’ or ‘Hey, this is new, this is different, this is for us’ type of thing.”

Before any design plans are finalized, Williams said the budget will have to be looked into.


A new GPS tracking system will soon be available for students to track the whereabouts of buses, a system Williams said has faced issues.

“The new GPS system: it’s been a long road, full of speed bumps and unexpected potholes, but … we are closer to getting a new GPS for students soon,” Williams said.

Williams said Mass Transit has spoke to and evaluated companies to help with the tracking system and narrowed it down to a few companies they will ultimately decide on to take on the bus tracking system.