Hitting the Road: Inter-Campus Shuttle is Huge Success
With its new, custom graphics, the Northern Essex Community College Inter-Campus Shuttle is hard to miss. And oh-so-easy to catch. In fact, the demand for the service has been so high that several times a day, the college has added a second shuttle into service.
“We’re so pleased to see students are using it and using it a lot. It was always our hope that we would need to add several work-study [driving] positions,” NECC CFO Mike McCarthy shared at a recent staff meeting.
Shuttle service started at the beginning of the fall ’23 semester. It operates starting at 7 am Mondays through Thursdays on the Haverhill Campus and transports riders between there and the Lawrence Campus throughout the day. Former NECC Student Trustee Sarah Pachano ’23 was instrumental in lobbying for the service. She surveyed students, collected data, and then worked with McCarthy to develop a plan.
Clearly, their plan worked. McCarthy shared that on Mondays and Wednesdays, as many as 105 people ride the shuttle throughout the day. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they see 70-85 riders. The busiest routes- where they’ve added additional service- are those leaving Haverhill at 12:45 pm and leaving Lawrence at 8:30 am.
The shuttle stops at the bus stop on the Haverhill Campus near the Elliot Street entrance and in front of the El Hefni building in Lawrence. A full schedule can be found here.
Prior to the pandemic, shuttle service was provided between the campuses as part of a partnership between NECC and MVRTA. It was put on hold in March 2020 as classes moved online and brought back in the fall of 2021 as in-person class offerings increased. However, ridership never returned to pre-pandemic levels, with fewer than 10 students riding daily. The shuttle was discontinued in October of 2021.
To compensate, MVRTA agreed to let NECC students, faculty, and staff ride free on the existing bus schedule. The option is still available, though the new shuttle service is significantly faster and more efficient.