Somerville Saferide: answers to your questions


December 13, 2013

The new Somerville Saferide runs seven days a week from 6:00pm to 2:30am Sunday through Wednesday and from 6:00am to 3:30am Thursday through Saturday.  Because the shuttle is new, early problems are still being worked out.  Feedback is much appreciated; you can send your feedback to gsc-hca-transportation@mit.edu.  Below are a few common questions and answers compiled from student feedback:

Q: Where is the shuttle line on the MIT App?  It would be much better if the live tracking were there!
A: We agree completely!  The reason the new shuttle line is not yet on the app is because the amount of time and cost it would take to import the new line doesn’t make sense until the line is approved for continuance.  Don’t worry though!  For now, you can find the live tracking at the NextBus website and on the NextBus app.

Q: I noticed the bus doesn’t always show up on time.  What’s the deal?
A: The current NextBus predictions are accurate about 95% of the time, however the prediction algorithms get better as more data points are collected over time.  If the line is approved for the long-term the quality of predictions will be the same as all the other buses at MIT.

Q: How did you plan the route and direction?  Can you make changes?
A: Sure!  We can provide regular input to MIT Transportation to make changes and improvements as the line is trialed, so please let us know what you think.  That said, we do want you to know that the line’s route and stops were chosen using an algorithm that attempted to maximize the number of students within walking distance of the line and minimize the total time spent walking by students to pick-up locations.

Q: You’ve mentioned a couple of times about the line being “continued.” How does this work?
A: If we attain sufficient ridership numbers through the Fall term MIT will consider making the line permanent and cover the cost of service.  In other words, if you like the new shuttle line, please ride it.  If you don’t please let us know what’s wrong so we can improve it before the final decision.

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