The Night Link: CWRU’s new nighttime shuttle

Zachary Treseler, Staff Writer

When students returned to Case Western Reserve University and installed the new Spartan Ride app, many noticed the “Evening North” shuttle was no longer on the shuttle tracker. It has disappeared, along with the “Evening South,” a shuttle that ran from Fribley Commons into the Coventry and Cedar Fairmount neighborhoods. Instead, the “Night Link” route appeared.

Undergraduate Student Government (USG) President Ananya Hari said that the Night Link is part of USG’s plan to “make the shuttles more reliable” with “increased allocations to transportation systems made last year.”

Not a lot was known about the Night Link when it first appeared on the Spartan Ride app. The bus route follows the path of the daytime GreenLink—affectionately known as the Greenie—with stops at Fribley Commons, One to One Fitness Center, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Mather House, the North Residential Village Starbucks, Clarke Tower/STJ and the Ugly Statue. These stops occur at the same tall green bus stops of the daytime GreenLink, making them easy to locate.

“The plan was to have one stop in the [Case] Quad and one in the Mather Quad and all the residential stops,” Hari said. This means that the Night Link does not have as many stops in the academic areas as the normal GreenLink, though it has more stops in residential areas. 

The need for the Night Link came out of the unreliability of the KSL Express. “The KSL Express [is] ineffective. We wanted an effective way to transport students at night,” Hari elaborated. 

The new Night Link is continuously running, rather than waiting at each stop for students to board—a problem of the KSL Express. Often, to the chagrin of students waiting at Kelvin Smith Library (KSL), the KSL Express buses will not move from Juniper or Murray Hill Road until a student boards the bus, leading to a massive wait time for students waiting at KSL or at the other end of the line. In contrast, the Night Link is meant to be a reliable alternative for students who live and work across campus. Students do not have to rely on the whims of a peer getting on a bus for their shuttle’s schedule. “This hopefully reduces the load on the Safe Rides and makes them have shorter waits,” Hari explained. 

For the time being, members of the CWRU community have two choices—either the KSL Express or the Night Link—to get them to and from either end of campus. The Night Link has two buses running on it, with one loop taking between 26 to 28 minutes. The KSL Express, in comparison, is scheduled to arrive every 12 to 17 minutes.

The Night Link is one in a bevy of changes made to the shuttle system at CWRU. For example, all shuttles now have QR codes which allow riders to deliver real-time feedback to SP Plus (Standard Parking), the shuttle operators on campus. In addition, the capacity of each bus is noted on the Spartan Ride app. Students can also call or text a new phone number, 216-368-6604, with their complaints about the system.