Late-night bus service begins
The Right Way Shuttle service started its engines for the first time Friday night. The new service is providing late-night transportation for UW-Eau Claire students and residences in Eau Claire.
Right Way, founded and owned by Tom Klatt, was conceived in an effort to prevent future tragedies like the drowning death of UW-Eau Claire student Michael Noll. Noll drowned in Half Moon Lake after celebrating his 22nd birthday on Nov. 6, 2002, on Water Street.
“After hearing the articles and information about Noll in the papers, I realized there was a demand for this kind of service,” said Klatt.
Thanks to contributions from Park Ridge Distributing and Saratoga Liquor, riders will pay $1 until Oct. 31, when it increases to the full price of $2.
The concept of a late-night shuttle service is not new to Eau Claire. The city and the bus drivers’ union previously tried to negotiate a service similar to Right Way’s for months, but were unable to come to an agreement. When negotiations finally fell through in June, Klatt launched his proposal.
“I was really pleased when Klatt came forward with this idea,” said Eau Claire Transit Manager Gwen Van Den Heuvel. “We really don’t consider this competition. There is a terrible need for safe transportation late at night.”
The shuttle service runs two routes around Eau Claire on Friday and Saturday nights. Two buses, running every half-hour, will operate a route beginning and ending at Towers Hall and running through the Water Street and downtown areas from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. The service also will include a single-bus route from 9 p.m. until midnight with stops including the Oakwood Mall, Wal-Mart, Festival Foods and Borders Books, Music and Cafe. The same route will be provided from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Sundays.
“It’s good for students because it is providing non-drinking alternatives as well as the late-night service,” said Van Den Heuvel.
“There are so many students who don’t have vehicles that want to go out and catch a late-night movie or go late-night grocery shopping,” Klatt said. “It’s not just for the Water Street area.”
He adds the bulk of his business is likely to come from students spending the night on Water Street.
The shuttle service is working loosely in conjunction with the university, but no official partnership exists.
“If it is proven successful, by all means, (Klatt) should approach the Student Senate (for subsidies),” said Van Den Heuvel. “College kids are really good bus riders, but they aren’t used to paying for it because it comes right out of their activity fee, so (Right Way) has to train them to get used to paying a dollar or two out of their own pockets.”