Seniors Take Initiative to Improve Cruiser

Hannah Fuchs

Colgate students and faculty have long been frustrated by the unreliability of the cruiser. Two seniors, Justin Altus and Robera Geleta, have made it their goal to find solutions. In two separate initiatives, each has created a website that works to track the cruiser.

Justin Altus’s “BusPath” (colgate.buspath.com) allows riders to see where the cruiser is on the campus map using actual GPS coordinates. The website recognizes where the website user is on campus, and determines how long it will take for each cruiser to get to that given location. This map is in real time, with only a 10-15 second delay.

Altus has been developing BusPath since his sophomore year, when he first spoke about the project to a group of alumni. However, Altus traces back his initial frustration with the Cruiser to his time as a prospective student at Colgate, when he waited for the Cruiser at the bookstore and it never arrived. Additionally, as a first-year, Altus served as the SGA Policy Coordinator for Technology Initiatives. The Cruiser’s inconsistency was repeatedly one of the biggest complaints he fielded from students.

“I wanted to create this website to enhance the perception of reliability of the cruiser, so that ultimately the community would use it more,” Altus said. “With the website, I hope to increase ridership and make the buses more accountable.”

Altus also described the potential positive outcomes for the community if the Cruiser becomes a more reliable service. He reasoned that if students living up the hill are able to correctly anticipate the timing of the cruiser, they will be more prone to go downtown and engage with Hamilton businesses. Therefore, the website could provide increased economic benefit to the community by increasing campus-town interaction.

BusPath is a Thought into Action (TIA) project, and Altus describes that he would not have been able to create this website without the support of the TIA alumni, the administration and the cooperation of Birnie Bus, which has allowed GPS trackers on their buses.

“The alumni entrepreneurs have stood behind the project, and President Herbst has been very involved as well. I think many people recognized the student, faculty and community need for Cruiser improvement,” Altus said.

Colgate is currently the only university of its size to have this GPS tracking system for its bus service. Other larger universities have purchased their GPS systems. The website is currently not integrated with the Colgate ITS application, but Altus said that he welcomes ITS to link to his website.

Robera Geleta also coincidentally released his website, www.colgatecruiser.com, around the same time as the BusPath release. Based on current time, Geleta’s website allows students to plug in a point of departure and point of destination to determine the best cruiser to take for their desired route. The website orders the cruiser options by arrival times. Students also have the ability to plan their cruiser ride ahead by inputting a custom query by day, hour and minute.

Geleta is a Computer Science major at Colgate, and began creating the website this past winter break as a project from which he knew he could personally benefit.

“I used to go down the hill a lot because I worked at Alumni Advancement Services, but I always had issues trying to figure out the right schedule and the most efficient way to get places,” Geleta said. “I always wished I had an easier way to get around, so I decided to make it happen.”

Geleta says that he intends to continue improving his site. He plans to have the website provide the intermediate stops of a given route, not just the times from point A to point B.

The two websites are not related, and the concurrent launch of BusPath and colgatecruiser.com happened by chance.

“I released my website on Facebook, and hoped that it would spread through word of mouth,” Geleta said. “It just so happened that SGA sent out an e-mail about BusPath that same day.”

Although both websites are separate initiatives, both creators share the aim of building student and faculty trust in the Cruiser, and allowing easier travel around campus and the community. 

Contact Hannah Fuchs at [email protected]