The new, bright blue UB Stampede buses sport a number of new
features, including more room for bikes and a tracking system.
You’ve probably seen them zooming around campus by now, in
flashes of bright blue. A new fleet of UB Stampede buses are here,
and they sport some interesting new features.
Christopher Austin, assistant director of parking and
transportation services, says that when UB recently reached the end
of its seven-year contract cycle with bus operator First Transit,
it saw an opportunity to refresh the fleet and switch to a more
heavy-duty, transit-style bus.
“We move around 24,000 passengers a day during peak times
of year, and some of the old buses were wearing out,” he
says. The new buses are a tougher breed, designed to handle a
heavier passenger load, much like the NFTA buses that visit
UB’s three campuses.
Annual ridership also has continued to rise, increasing by about
a third in 2010 to around 3 million riders since the bus service
began in 2005. Last year, the Stampede served 3,760,000
A combination of factors has led to the increase, Austin says.
UB’s efforts to promote a car-free environment have spurred
interest in transportation alternatives to driving to campus, as
more students and some faculty and staff members take advantage of
the NFTA Metro, Stampede, shuttle and park-and-ride options. High
gas prices have helped, too.
“We are committed to transit alternatives, decreasing the
number of single-occupancy vehicles on campus, increasing our
ridership and being green,” says Maria Wallace, director of
parking and transportation services.
After Wallace’s office conducted benchmarking studies,
several new upgrades were chosen for the next-generation
For one thing, they’re now running on a blend of standard
petrodiesel and biodiesel—a nontoxic, alternative fuel made
from vegetable oil that should help lower the fleet’s
Based on rider feedback, each bus comes equipped with front-end
racks for three bikes (the last model held two), and starting next
month, riders will be able to track the Stampede using the UB Mobile app or UB Mobile Web (click on
“More” for Campus Transportation). The buses also offer
wheelchair access, Austin says, expanding options for disabled
riders beyond the existing paratransit shuttle.
Inside the 35-foot buses, Austin says, a low-floor design allows
for faster and safer boarding. Each bus seats 35 and has room for
18-20 standing riders, with the familiar rows of seats along the
sides, overhead bars for standing and forward-facing seats in back,
behind the rear doors.
Transit advertising panels, which the previous models also
offered, are available to UB departments and units to place
targeted ads for campus transit riders.
The new fleet, which First Transit will continue to operate,
also is getting a white-outlined UB Bull
“wrap”—basically a giant decal—running
along the sides of each vehicle.
“We liked the old swoosh of the old buses, but this was an
opportunity to brand UB a little further,” Austin says,
noting that Tracey Eastman, who heads marketing and communications
for University Life and Services, helped orchestrate the UB
Pride-inspired designs working with Wallace, Austin and Barbara
Ricotta, associate vice president for student affairs.
Five Stampede buses are running on the summer schedule; during
the school year, up to 22 will run daily between campuses, while
another six will be on hand for special events and as backup.
For more information about placing transit ads, call Parking and
Transportation at 645-3943.