Today at Berkeley Lab

Schedule Change for Potter Shuttle Van Starting Nov. 1

Due to financial constraints, the Lab’s shuttle service was reviewed and appropriate reductions were included in the FY2017-18 budget. Effective Nov. 1, the Potter Street van will run every hour instead of every 30 minutes. Vans will leave the Bldg. 65 stop at 8 minutes after the hour, from 8:08 a.m. to 6:08 p.m. The current schedule continues through Oct. 31. View routes and schedules here.

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  1. Peter Matlock says:

    Reducing the shuttle schedule is a grave “penny wise/pound foolish” mistake that is detrimental to Lab productivity, inconvenient to researchers/staff/students, a further aggravation for on-campus parking, and an unfair burden on those least able to afford their own transportation.
    Has the Lab considered the aggregate value of lost personnel time and productivity to the cost of running the shuttle? Sure–the shuttle is an obvious, directly measurable expense item in the budget (hence a tasty target for budget cutting). In contrast, productivity is a more abstract concept that requires thoughtful analysis to measure–but isn’t the Lab supposed to be really good at measuring abstract things??

  2. Amin Zargar says:

    Please consider signing this petition if you disagree with this decision.

  3. Shane Canon says:

    I somehow missed the public comment period on this.

    This is a real shame. I rely on this shuttle often to go between Potter and the hill midday. Waiting 30 minutes is already a challenge (especially when you miss one). Cutting the service to an hour will make things worse and the cost of missing a shuttle really high. With all the recent consolidation at Potter this seems like a bad idea.

    It is easy to calculate the direct savings of cutting a run. How are you estimating the impact to those who need it?

  4. The recent move by many groups to Potter St was supposed to save the Lab money. Some of that money should be redirected into fixing the shuttle schedule (as many here have proposed), instead of cutting service in half.

  5. The Potter/JBEI shuttle schedule is already not very convenient at every 30 minutes. Reducing to every 60 minutes will make it all but useless. When LBL first moved groups to Potter St., and the shuttle was every hour, it was extremely inconvenient to travel between Potter and the hill or UCB. Those people who are able to drive will be forced to do so, and those who can’t drive will waste extra time waiting for shuttles.

    I’m curious if any of the other options mentioned (route/stop modifications, 30 minute peak hour frequencies) were considered. Also, perhaps there is a way to partner with AC Transit to provide free or reduced passes for Potter and JBEI employees?

  6. Reducing shuttle service puts severe constraints for a researcher who relies heavily on public transportation and shuttle services. I’m addition, shuttles are already almost always delayed in their reported arrival times. Limiting them to one hour windows imposes even more stress to get to labs for workers and especially students, who vast majority do not own vehicles. Not to mention, parking is already difficult as it is.

    This decision does not move our labs forward. It is a major set back that impacts our mobility. Please consider a more effective resolution.

  7. This shuttle is crucial for UC Berkeley Students hoping to gain valuable lab experience and make it to class on time. Limiting the times will greatly reduce the number of students willing to volunteer, and/or the number of hours they’re able to put in. Furthermore, the LBNL shuttle is important for commuters on the BART lines. As both a student and an individual frequently dependent on BART, I’m disappointed in the choice to limit the shuttle service. Regular half hour service during peak commuting times would be the best compromise if maintaining the current half hour service is impossible.

  8. Jenny Mortimer says:

    This is a really unfortunate decision, especially since there had been discussions about making this more frequent and more rider friendly. At a time when parking on the Hill is becoming more and more challenging, and staff are being encouraged to look at non-car options, this sends all of the wrong messages. With a 30 minute schedule, I still need to block an hour of travel either way, so that I can attend a meeting. With an hour schedule, this will further isolate those folks who are off campus, and essentially makes it close to useless.

    Finally, this will disproportionately impact our undergraduate and graduate students, who are least likely to have cars because of financial constraints.

    Perhaps it would be better to revisit the existing shuttle options and try to integrate the routes better. For example, could there be a regular loop that was based out of aquatic park or JBEI that dropped people by the downtown Berkeley BART stop, so that they can pick up the Blue/Orange?

  9. Astrid Terry says:

    Perhaps there could be a link that people can sign up for the shuttle so the bus driver knows not to leave without them? I’ve been left at various stops with my hand in the air flagging the driver to no avail.

    To miss a shuttle basically kills a huge block of time. This negatively impacts the staff and many of the students who are at multiple locations part time. Parking is already bad, if you have to drive between the Hill and West Berkeley, Aquatic Park/JBEI you are stuck circling for 30 minutes at either location.

  10. This seems to be a step in the wrong direction if LBNL is hoping to reduce the number of people car-commuting, and the resulting parking demand. I regularly found that the shuttle was full or nearly full during commute times (~5-6pm, for example), so at least the shuttle should run more frequently during peak hours. Drop-off at Ashby BART and Downtown Berkeley seemed popular for those riders.

    This also makes life extremely difficult for people who split their time between Potter St/JBEI and the main site. Doing drop-off at JBEI at 8 min after the hour meant that, even with 30 min frequency, I always had to block out 1 hour for travel from the hill at JBEI (or vice versa) to avoid being late to meetings. I would suggest rethinking the route to make life easier for riders rather than cutting service to make it even less convenient.

  11. Peter Marietta says:

    Saving money is important, and with budgets what they are, I understand the need to cut where we can. However, I can foresee a lot of difficulties for myself and others. I work at three buildings (Potter, JBEI, and B86), and in most cases, I am lucky enough to be able to drive myself from site to site. I know people who work in these buildings, though, who have no car of their own, and will find themselves spending even more time away from their work, simply because of the time required to get where they need to go.

    Maybe there’s a way to compromise on shuttle frequency to accommodate those who have no other transportation options.

  12. Claire Robertson says:

    What a shame. This makes it almost impossible to recruit undergraduate students from UCB to work at potter st. Especially since the diverse student population we seek to recruit are the most dependent on the shuttles and least likely to own cars or have other transportation. Any chance that you could have 1/2 hr shuttles at peak commute times?

  13. Itay Budin says:

    This is an especially big blow to the community of young scientists, composed mainly of undergraduate interns from UC Berkeley, who come to JBEI for training and research experience. These students already have to juggle class schedules with making time to come to an off-site lab, and this scheduling “change” will strongly burden them.

  14. Amin Zargar says:

    I’d also add this is a terrible way to keep undergraduates involved. I mentor multiple undergraduates who all rely on the bus to get here. With classes that already dictate a difficult schedule, by reducing this to once an hour, this will greatly impact their opportunities to learn and contribute. We should at least keep it bi-hourly during “peak” hours.

  15. Stacey Gauny says:

    I would like to point out that all of the suggestions mentioned below (modifying the route in both time and direction, additional pickup locations along the route and extending the hours on both ends-especially at night) were brought up for discussion at the VAATAG parking committee meetings without success. Also, a group of committee members analyzed the extensive data from the employee survey to develop a more user accessible and efficient route both to those heading to Aquatic Park and to the Hill. There was no further discussion on this topic due to the Vendor contract in place at the time.

    Given the large number of UCB student employees, interns from all the various Lab Outreach
    programs, and the recent addition of a large number of labs/researchers from the Hill to 977/Potter, this is an extremely poor choice of time to reduce the service to Aquatic Park.

  16. This is a really unfortunate decision, and I agree with all the previous comments. This will just push people back into their cars. I thought the lab was trying to discourage that. And may I also add that parking challenges don’t happen only on the Hill! I work at JBEI and we have parking challenges here as well.

  17. Andrew Hagen says:

    I would just like to add my voice and echo what Lida and Cory have said. Additionally, would it not be possible to at least maintain the original times during commute hours?

  18. Lida Gifford says:

    This is a severe blow to the Lab’s commitment to inclusion. This policy decision effectively will alienate the hundreds of people who work at JBEI, OCFO, and Aquatic Park. Travel time on the shuttle for a meeting was already nearly unmanageable, and this new schedule compounds the problem. The system had many issues: the one-way route was inconvenient; the timing was ill-conceived and would deliver a person to JBEI such that they would be 10 minutes late or 20 minutes early to a meeting beginning on the hour/half-hour (and still will!); and the small vans posed embarkation/disembarkation problems to those with many bags. I request that some of these aspects and others that may have negatively impacted ridership be reviewed and addressed. Perhaps a qualitative analysis of the current service could be used as a springboard to considering other, more economical options for the hundreds of people who would consider using this service if it were more convenient, especially as parking becomes more scarce on the Hill and at JBEI.

  19. Cory Snavely says:

    Oh, that’s really unfortunate. I ride this shuttle most days to and from work, and there are always at least 2-3 other riders in the morning.

    Reducing shuttle service seems like the wrong direction to be heading as we inch closer to the carpocalypse of the IGB opening. Low ridership may mean the route is designed poorly. I would much rather see us exploring opportunities to leverage or adapt the existing routes to greater effect, such as a pick-up at Ashby BART or other gathering points along the route that would provide convenient commute options. Finding and introducing those options now would allow staff time to adjust and reduce the pressure for parking in advance of the approaching crisis.

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