Today: Apr 21, 2024

Local business supplies shuttles for students

Monica Szackacs, News Writer-
This week a new affordable shuttle launches from the greater New Haven area to various destinations in the New York metro area, along with round trips to airports in New York. Antoine Scott, owner and founder of QCONN Shuttle, said students at Southern, Yale, University of New Haven and Quinnipiac can be picked up at their universities and use their university cards as payment, such as the Hoot Loot.

Photo courtesy qconnshuttle.com

“For SCSU the pickup will be on Friday and Thursday but because there is shuttle service that goes from here to the train station,” said Scott. “On other days it depends if there is two or three folks and we will come to the student center first then the train station and then to New York.”

Michael Swetz, a senior political science major, said he goes to New York about 5 to 10 times a year, as long as his budget allows him. Each time he goes, he said he only spends $ 25 for a round-trip on the Metro North railroad

“I absolutely believe Southern students would use it,” said Swetz, “because it is not costly for those who do not like long commutes, and those who live on campus would want to get out for the weekend instead of staying in.”

Each school has their own specific location, but according to Scott, there will be a York and Chapel street and Union Station pick up for people who want to go to Manhattan after 5 p.m. Scott said the location is catered to mostly people in the Yale region because a lot of people come up from New York and take the train back. After 5 p.m., there will be a one-way at the cost of $24.

“The reason why I have that service is because most folks who go into the airport after 5 p.m. are already there,” said Scott, “so usually the vehicles are empty going out and we want to put some people in the vehicles so that’s where we got the concept of going to Manhattan.”

Swetz said he probably would not use the service because with driving, he said traffic is always likely going into the city. He said he loves the train ride, and he lives in Stratford, so going to New Haven would defeat the purpose. Although he said the service is not suited for him, he said students would be getting a good deal if traveling home, because along with the price of the train, they would also have to pay for a shuttle or taxi to the airport.

“I think the service is a great idea for students who live on the campuses that would use the service,” said Swetz, “because they live in the city or Long Island, or they are catching a flight home for vacation or for a weekend.”

Scott said for students at Southern, the shuttle caters to residents of south and middle Long Island. As of now, Scott said students traveling home to those regions of Long Island must take the shuttle to Union Station, then take the Metro North train to Grand Central, then somehow get to Penn Station to take the Long Island train in Queens. QCONN makes the commute easier, said Scott, by picking students up either at Southern or Union Station and driving straight to Jamaica Avenue station where there is a train to Long Island.

“We can actually cut that commute time one to two hours, because we will pick you up from point A and bring you to point B,” said Scott. “So if you want to go to north Long Island you can because there’s a huge Long Island hub there, and if you want to go to Brooklyn you can catch the E or the J train and if you live in Queens or want to go to Queens, you already are in Queens.”
Gabrielle Stella, a junior special education major, said when it comes to the student aspect of transportation, she thinks the business mainly has in mind residents of New York and Long Island.

“I think there are a lot of students who come from Long Island and the New York metropolitan area that may just want to use a direct service right from Southern to their destination. There would be fewer fees for transportation.”

An option that traveling students will have on the QCONN website, said Scott, is a chat/discussion room where they can say what day they are planning to travel and find others that will travel on the same day, so they can split the costs and charter a private car.

The majority of QCONN’s fleet are independent contractors. Scott said the first reason he uses private contractors is because there is a lower start up fee.

“Our money that we spend is for marketing and advertising, because we don’t get paid unless we bring them the passengers,” said Scott, “and they spend their money on the licensing and insurance and maintaining their vehicle.”

Having an independent contract model gives other people the opportunity to own their own business, according to Scott, and he said by their own business they will actually be on time, have a clean car and give better customer services.

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