Northern Essex Brings Back Inter-Campus Shuttle by Providing Service In House

Shuttle stop at Ourania Behrakis Student Center on the Haverhill campus of Northern Essex Community College. (Courtesy photograph.)

Traveling between Northern Essex Community College’s Haverhill and Lawrence campuses will be getting easier this fall by bringing back a service hindered by the recent pandemic.

Shuttle service resumes for the fall 2023 semester. Students will be picked up at the bus stop on the Haverhill Campus near the Elliot Street entrance and in front of the El Hefni building in Lawrence. The shuttle starts running at 7 a.m., Monday through Thursday, with the last shuttle departing at 3:45 p.m. The schedule may be expanded depending on ridership and demand.

“This service will provide students with reliable and safe transportation, and it will cut down travel time” said Sarah Pachano, Northern Essex Community College student trustee. “The shuttle will also help the sense of community and belonging on both campuses.”

Prior to the pandemic, shuttle service was provided by the Merrimack valley Regional Transit Authority, since renamed MeVa. Service was put on hold in March 2020 as classes moved online and brought back in the fall of 2021 when in-person class offerings increased. However, the college said, ridership never returned to pre-pandemic levels, with fewer than 10 students riding daily. The shuttle was discontinued in October of 2021. Northern Essex will now own and operate the shuttle.

Free MeVa service is still available to students, faculty and staff on the existing bus schedule, but officials said the new shuttle service will be significantly faster and more efficient.

Restoring service was a top priority for Pachano as a trustee and member of the Student Government Association. After polling students and collecting data, she worked with the college to develop a sustainable solution to ease transportation between campuses.

Pachano said she has been working on this since last August, noting, “this is a very important thing to have in our school and I’m so glad to have it.”

Northern Essex Chief Financial Officer Michael McCarthy said the college hired a coordinator of the service that will “work to ensure service is provided, data is tracked, and work study/interns are trained to cover the length of service needed.”

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