As soon as each few weeks, a gentle stream of constitution buses pours into loading areas close to Ganedago Corridor, Baker Flagpole and the Seneca Avenue Storage. One firm is central to getting college students again dwelling for breaks: OurBus.
OurBus has served Cornell since 2017 and has 81 connections from campus, lately rising the frequency of buses to New York Metropolis and Buffalo. The corporate additionally providers greater than two dozen different school campuses. In an interview with The Solar, OurBus co-founder Axel Hellman claimed his firm is without doubt one of the main organizers of scholar journey from school within the nation.
Though many Cornell college students affiliate the corporate with its buses, Ourbus doesn’t personal a single one. The corporate is a division of Rally OurBus — the results of a 2021 merger with Rally, which makes a speciality of organizing constitution buses for occasions and venues.
Ourbus has positioned itself as a know-how firm that serves as a dealer between bus firms and customers. This makes it extra versatile to adjustments in demand, but additionally extra weak to adjustments in provide, similar to when bus firms should use their car inventory for different, coinciding occasions.
“The benefit of [the business model] is that we aren’t constrained by storage places and driver availability. We are able to merely herald bus and driver assets from one other area,” Hellman mentioned. “But additionally meaning we’re affected by the bigger marketplace for bus providers.”
Though the corporate’s distinctive enterprise mannequin and scale — transporting 64,000 passengers in October, in accordance with Hellman — permits for flexibility, college students have expressed blended emotions in regards to the high quality of OurBus’s service throughout excessive quantity intervals.
In keeping with an e mail despatched by Hellman in regards to the firm’s reliability over fall break, 89 p.c of the buses that departed Cornell arrived on time. Nevertheless, some encountered upkeep points and delays alongside the way in which. Rena Weintraub ’27 took an OurBus experience from Ithaca to New York Metropolis throughout fall break and was disillusioned by her expertise of delays, lack of facilities and an allegedly inexperienced driver.
“‘[My ride was] completely horrible. We ended up arriving over 4 hours late,” Weintraub mentioned.
Along with arriving on the vacation spot late, the bus was additionally delayed choosing up Weintraub.
She additionally talked about that the bus’s Wi-Fi and air-con, two facilities that OurBus claims are on each bus departing Ithaca, weren’t working. Extra importantly, Weintraub mentioned that the bus driver was not adhering to federal regulation.
“We [also] made two U-turns on the freeway. Certainly one of which was over the median. Some child on the bus needed to direct the bus driver as a result of we bought misplaced [a few times],” Weintraub mentioned.
In keeping with New York State and New Jersey regulation, making U-turns on a freeway is an unlawful maneuver.
Nevertheless, the subsequent day, OurBus issued Weintraub a refund and a coupon code for her subsequent journey.
When requested in regards to the incidents that occurred on Weintraub’s journey, Hellman mentioned, “The operator for this specific journey, Simple Luxurious Coach Corp, was instantly faraway from some other work with Rally OurBus and we’re holding them accountable for the failure to carry out the contracted journey as promised.”
Hannah Friedman ’25 had fairly a distinct expertise touring with OurBus. “It was straightforward to guide my ticket. [The bus] was precisely what I anticipated it to be. It was reasonably priced, and there have been a bunch of empty seats,” Friedman mentioned.
Along with straightforward reserving, Maia Mehring ’27 talked about that the corporate’s web site made it very straightforward to reschedule tickets regardless of the rescheduling charges.
Mehring additionally loved the estimated arrival time function on the OurBus app, however mentioned the time was an hour off from her precise arrival time.
She then mentioned her unfavourable ideas relating to the corporate’s cancellation coverage. “If you must cancel your bus, it doesn’t provide the a reimbursement, it simply offers you credit score in the direction of a future journey,” Mehring mentioned.
Nevertheless, like Weintraub, Mehring’s first experience on OurBus was met with some problems.
Throughout fall break, she took the second-to-last seat out there on her bus out of Ithaca. Mehring then witnessed one other ticket-bearing scholar be turned away from the now full bus.
“They instructed her she must discover one other bus. I used to be simply considering that it may’ve been me…They overbooked the bus,” Mehring mentioned.
Regardless of these blended opinions, OurBus stays a staple of the Cornell undergraduate journey expertise.
“This kind of transportation, mass exoduses from school campuses to hometowns is our specialty,” Hellman mentioned. “The workforce is working across the clock to verify everybody will get dwelling.”
Evan Liberman ’26 is a Solar contributor and might be reached at [email protected].
Dina Shlufman ’27 is a Solar contributor and might be reached at [email protected].