GC late night bus comes back after a two year hiatus

A student-created GroupMe has taken over late night transportation for GC students.


Anne Roper, Staff Writer

The GC late-night bus made its long-awaited return after two years of absence this semester. The shuttle runs from 10:00 PM – 2:45 AM every Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the exception of holidays. It picks students up from West Campus and drops them off at The Max.

The class of 2023, now in their third year, has never experienced the late-night bus due to its cancellation. Students have relied on walking or the GC Rides GroupMe, created for and by the students, for transportation since their first year at GC.

“It’s nice to see it back now,” said Claire Bousquet, a junior nursing major. “Even though we kind of missed out on it.”

The school ceased operation of the late-night bus as well as the golf cart transportation service, SNAP, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in March of 2021.

With ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft nonexistent in Milledgeville, students worried that the absence of the late-night bus would put night-goers in dangerous scenarios as they attempted to find a way home.

Women living in the SLC felt the decision was particularly unfair to them, as living at West Campus year is mandatory for all sophomore sorority members.

Early last school year a Peer Mentor for the SLC launched a petition on the popular campaign website Change.org titled “Late Night GC Bus”. They urged the school to reimplement the shuttle, emphasizing the safety concerns many students shared. It went on to receive 743 signatures with no response from the school.

In August 2021, after a year-long absence from the late-night bus, then-sophomore exercise science major Kate McKinley created a GroupMe group chat titled ‘GCSU rides’.

Through GCSU rides, students looking to make some extra cash could offer rides to those looking for transportation to and from Downtown.

Students flocked to join the group chat and within weeks it had over 2,000 members, nearly a third of the GC student population. Rides were in such high demand that some students even began to consider it a job, often making upwards of three hundred dollars in a weekend.

McKinley said she took inspiration from Georgia Southern after noticing they had a group chat dedicated to students providing rides to others and felt GC needed something similar.

“I gathered my friends and added a few people,” said McKinley. “Everyone started sending the link around in their sorority and fraternity group chats. The next day it had 800 people.”

However, the creation of the group chat sparked other safety concerns.

Due to GCSU rides being student-operated, their reliability fluctuated and some students even worried their drivers may not always be sober as they claim.

“I’ve had rides that have ditched me in the past so I’m waiting for up to an hour until someone can get me,” said Ella Anchors, sophomore business major. “I would much rather use the late bus because it’s reliable and you know they’re taking you to the right place.”

The group chat remains active alongside the late-night bus, now with close to 3000 members.