Happy Anniversary, Shuttle-UM!

Are you a Shuttle-UM rider? Perhaps you use the commuter service to get around campus or to the College Park Metro Station. Maybe you’ve used the security service routes or NITE Rite when it’s late and you need to get back to the dorms. Perhaps you’ve used paratransit, or ridden on a bus chartered by your athletic team or student organization. Even if you’ve never set foot on one of the red, turtle-adorned buses, you’ve probably seen them picking up and dropping off your classmates around campus.

Shuttle-UM celebrates its 40th anniversary this month! The University Archives is excited to help Shuttle-UM celebrate its ruby anniversary by introducing a new addition to its archival collection. The new records were received this past summer, and have been processed and added to the original collection (received in 1994). You can now come see records of the service’s history, administration, and operation dating all the way back to 1975 in the Maryland Room at Hornbake Library.

Shutlle-UM in processing
Records of Shuttle-UM behind the scenes:
Processing in progress

Nighttime security shuttle service was established by students in November 1972 in response to safety concerns. By the end of the school year, it consisted of four vans and three routes, with a yearly ridership of 65,000. The name “Shuttle-UM” was established in 1975, and by the fall of 1976, intracampus routes to the parking lots, evening Call-A-Ride (now known as NITE Ride), charter services, off-campus commuter routes and disabled transit service (now known as paratransit) had all been introduced. When the finding aid for original Records of Shuttle-UM collection, covering 1975 to 1994, was written in 1998, the service had over 30 buses and an annual ridership of over 1 million. Today, Shuttle-UM (which merged with the Department of Campus Parking in 2002 to become the Department of Transportation Services, or DOTS) has a fleet of over 60 vehicles and an annual ridership of over 3 million.

Shuttle-UM schedules 1976-2004
Bus schedules for the Adelphi South route from 1976 to 2004

Following the recent addition, the Records of Shuttle-UM includes documents from 1975 to 2008. It contains histories of the organization, annual reports, publications (including reports, proposals, and employee handbooks and manuals), correspondence, and other administrative records. If you’re more interested in Shuttle-UM’s daily operations, you can check out over three decades worth of bus schedules and route information, as well as dispatcher logs, shift schedules, and more. For visual types, there are plenty of news clippings and slides. There are even some audio and video cassettes (remember those?) My personal favorite, however, has got to be this certificate, proclaiming November 14, 1992 (20 years ago today!) Shuttle-UM Appreciation Day in College Park.

Shuttle-UM Appreciation Day

Update: Check out our follow-up post regarding the Black Student Union and the origins of Shuttle-UM in response to Matthew Riddick’s comment (below).

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3 thoughts on “Happy Anniversary, Shuttle-UM!

  1. Matthew Riddick

    Congrats to Shuttle UM on their 40th anniversary, but if we’re going to frame the origin of the University transit service as a matter of student security, we would be doing a disservice to the memory of the alumni, community and nuances of our history in that era without crediting the Black Student Union.

    1. Thank you very much for the response! The brief historical overview of Shuttle-UM was drawn from sources within the collection itself, including a history written in 1976 indicating that the Student Government Association proposed the security shuttle to the Chancellor and bought the first two buses. The Black Student Union is cited as the founding organization in Shuttle-UM employee handbooks from the early 2000s. Following your comment, we investigated the issue further in The Diamondback and Black Explosion student newspapers. From these, it appears that the BSU and SGA each pursued security initiatives in the Fall of 1972, and the BSU’s efforts began a bit earlier and were more independent from the administration. It does not appear that the BSU was directly involved with the shuttle initiative per se, but their efforts may certainly have influenced its creation. It’s also possible that the BSU’s contribution was under-reported, so we would certainly appreciate any more detailed information that anyone can share to set the record straight!

      We will also soon be updating the blog with an additional post detailing the results of this supplemental investigation!

  2. Pingback: Shuttle-UM and the Black Student Union | Terrapin Tales

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