Gliding around Youngstown on the Penguin Shuttle

By McCartney Walsh 

Youngstown State University strives to make students’ lives easier by providing free transportation on and off campus.

The Penguin Shuttle runs during the day from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The shuttle can take students anywhere from the dorms to apartments to classes in a timely fashion, according to Daniel O’Connell, director of Support Services.

“The buses are designed to help people who have to get completely across campus for something,” O’Connell said. “Most people take the shuttle from the dorms, and they tend to take the shuttles up to the athletic facilities, the dining hall, things like that.”

YSU provides three Penguin Shuttles through a grant with the Western Reserve Transit Authority. 

“They do so many grants for the local busing,” O’Connell said. “They really understand the cutting edge of where we can go and what we can do with it.”

Two of the shuttles run clockwise on 15-minute loops, known as the Red Loops, and one runs counterclockwise on a 30-minute loop, known as the White Loop. According to O’Connell, the bus’ schedules are different from a typical city bus.

“The city buses will wait if they get to a stop early,” O’Connell said. “But ours are more of a headwind, where we will go when we get there and then make adjustments when we get to Kilcawley.”

According to Penguin Shuttle driver Vicki Agler, YSU also offers the Williamson Express, which travels from the different parking lots along Rayen Avenue to the Williamson College of Business Administration.

“The Williamson Express is the green bus,” Agler said. “That one travels on 10-minute loops. It goes up and down Rayen Avenue and comes up Lincoln Avenue, too.” 

A lot of students aren’t aware of the stops the shuttle makes, according to Agler, resulting in them not taking advantage of the bus’ resources. This is why she said she’s always willing to pick up students wherever on campus, even if they are not at a marked bus stop. 

“Just because I’m driving doesn’t mean I won’t stop,” Agler said. “If you put your hand up, I’ll pull over and pick you up.”

The Midnight Express is another shuttle YSU has that begins at 11 p.m. and takes students safely from campus into downtown on the weekends.

“We run the shuttle on loops until 1 o’clock, and then at 1 o’clock we’re just down there to bring people home,” O’Connell said. “So, when we’re taking you home, if you’re a block off the route, we’ll actually drop you right at the front of your place just as a courtesy.” 

When compared to other YSU shuttles, the Midnight Express usually carries the most riders since downtown is farther from campus, according to Jacob Aromando, a sophomore integrated language arts education major.

“I usually take the one from the dorms to downtown,” Aromando said. “It’s convenient because it cuts out a lot of walking.”

YSU also provides free transportation for students to Walmart in Liberty on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings, departing from Kilcawley Center.

“That really helps international students as well, and any student without a vehicle,” O’Connell said. 

The YSU shuttles are a great, free resource that positively impacts student’s lives and schedules, according to Agler. 

“It’s free, it gets you where you need to go, it’s convenient — especially in the winter and when it’s raining,” Agler said. “It’s a no-brainer.”

The shuttle schedule can be found through the YSU Parking Services’ website