Something to think about when planning your Princetoween costume: you may be riding home in a well-lit, University sponsored bus.
Tonight, Princeton’s UMatter initiative will inaugurate a late-night bus that will run every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 12:30 to 3 A.M.
It will pick up students waiting all along on Prospect (on the north side of the street) and stop at Frist, the residential colleges, and around the slums area. The route will take about thirty minutes. You can track the bus on the Tiger Transit app, TigerTracker.
A group of four students came up with the idea last spring in EGR 392, an entrepreneurship class. They call it the magic bus, according to Tim Lau ’17, one of the creators.
In the spring, the team ran a prototype of the bus for a few nights. “The prototype went overwhelmingly well,” Tim said. “People seemed to really enjoy the idea of having a magic bus that transported you from the street back to basically outside your dorm.” There was also food on board the prototype bus.
Tim said that their instructions for the project were to come up with a creative way to mitigate sexual aggression on campus. After the team presented the project to a panel of administrators, UMatter took over the project, Tim said.
The goal of the bus, aside from giving Princeton students’ weary feet a rest, is to create opportunities for intervention where interpersonal violence or sexual misconduct could occur. It’s more than just a drunk bus.
“Beyond the great service of not having to walk home in the cold, there’s a campus health push behind it,” Adam Cellon ‘17, one of three UMatter Fellows, said. “The idea is to give an opportunity to get out of situations that they don’t want to be in.”
Adam hopes that the UMatter bus will provide students with an alternative to a dark walk home with someone they may not have wanted to walk home with.
Two designated sober people will be riding the bus at all times, usually a SHARE peer and a PHA, Adam said. They may or may not be in costume tonight.
Adam compared the UMatter bus to the Safe Ride program at other colleges, although Princeton’s bus won’t be driven by a student.
The bus service itself is not a new thing–there have been two TigerTransit on-demand buses that, in the past, could take students home from the Street late at night. The buses didn’t have a regular route, though. Now, one of these buses is going to be used for the UMatter bus.
Since the bus is a TigerTransit bus, the same policies will apply. This means that, if a student can’t walk, Psafe is called, Adam said. It also means that every once in a while, a Psafe officer will get on and ride, Adam said.
The UMatter bus falls under a few of UMatter’s main initiatives, including Respect Matters, Limits Matter, and Action Matters (bystander intervention). As the bus develops, Adam said they will look into incorporating food and water into the bus service.