You’ve hopped on the Hopkins shuttle to get from Charles Village to Mount Vernon; you were thrilled when the Charm City Circulator let you get downtown for free. Now there’s a new free shuttle service in town — but there might be a catch.
One of the greatest things about the Hopkins Shuttle (more properly known as the JHMI-Homewood shuttle) is how you don’t really have to be a Hopkins affiliate to take advantage of its gloriously free, relatively reliable transportation. The Blue Jay Shuttle — a revamped, renamed version of the school’s security escort van service — will travel along several fixed routes, circling through Hampden, Waverly, and Remington; it’ll hit 72 student-friendly hotspots like the 25th Street Safeway, the Avenue in Hampden, the Waverly Giant, and the Rotunda. Service will start at 5:45 PM, with a fleet of vans embarking every half hour until 11 PM. If you’ve got a smart phone, you’ll be able to track the buses via NextBus, a GPS-based real time transit system.
Which all sounds pretty convenient and great. The catch? According to the school’s website, you’ll need a valid Hopkins ID (aka a J-Card) to board. The service isn’t up and running yet (it starts on August 24), so it remains to be seen whether the ID requirement will be in name only (as on the Hopkins shuttle) or a serious necessity (as on the Collegetown Shuttle service).
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