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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

University LIMO service announce plan to switch to app based service EagleExpress

Photo by Photo courtesy of Marquette University.
The EagleExpress app will be similar to other ride-sharing apps.

The Marquette University LIMO service will convert to Eagle Express, a “Uber-esque” app, starting January 2023.

The free EagleExpress app will be available for IOS and Android and requires a valid university email address for sign-up, allowing for booking rides of up to four people per request. Students and staff will still be able to call the LIMO phone number for rides.

While EagleExpress will function similarly to other ride-sharing apps, sending notifications when the van is five minutes from the pickup location, it will share features of the current LIMO service; providing free rides to students and staff daily from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m. within the campus area, maintaining two authorized off-campus locations: Milwaukee Intermodal Station and the Eleven25 at Pabst Apartments.

This change comes in an attempt to improve the rider experience, increase operational efficiencies and enhance campus safety measures university spokesperson, Kevin Conway, said in a statement.

“Students shared their concerns with us about wait times, pick up and drop off locations, and difficulty accessing the LIMO dispatch on busy nights,” Edith Hudson, chief of the Marquette University Police Department, said in an email. “Parents have also shared their concerns about transportation. These factors are the driver behind our new Eagle Express service.”

The current LIMO service will carry on for the remainder of the fall semester, with 40 drivers currently employed. LIMO employees were debriefed on the advancement of EagleExpress Nov. 7. There will be official training on the new service before the end of the fall semester.

“I’m pretty excited. Big changes. I think it’s gonna help us a lot and help streamline everything,” Matt Audino, LIMO driver and senior in the College of Communication, said.

Audino believes drivers not having to figure out routes while driving will make his job easier and safer, with cell phones mounted in the vehicles providing directions and optimizing routes, letting drivers focus on driving.

Ahmoni Gonzalez, LIMO driver and sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, believes that the main parts of the job will stay the same, while admitting there may be a learning curve.

“Just having something new in general, the whole rebrand, I think that’s my favorite part,” Gonzalez said. “Our job description isn’t really changing, as a driver, we’re still transporting students from point A to point B.”

Gonzalez believes the rebrand will be helpful to the service in general, mentioning that the new service may clear up some confusion.

“I know when I came here as a first-year and heard about the LIMO, I was like ‘oh limo, that’s so cool’ and then, you know, this big van pulls up and you’re like ‘woah, that’s not a limo’… I don’t think that’ll be a misunderstanding anymore to new students,” Gonzalez said. “The EagleExpress, that sounds a lot more fitting, a lot more campus oriented, so I’m excited for that and just the look of the vans.”

With the new changes, MUPD Sergeant and LIMO supervisor Amy Oltendorf believes students and staff should expect more efficiency with the EagleExpress service.

“This app should be more efficient and will provide riders with a more accurate timeline of when a van will arrive to pick them up. Wait times have always been a complaint in the past, so we are hoping to minimize that complaint,” Oltendorf said in an email. 

With mentioning safety as a priority for this new system, Hudson believes that this boost in efficiency will in turn lead to an increase in safety, citing ease of service and meeting student expectations to increase use.

“I think it’ll be great for campus safety, it’ll be great for the users.” Angel Zavala, LIMO driver and senior in the College of Business Administration, said. “No more waiting on the LIMO, listening to that elevator music, waiting for dispatch to pick up.”

Improved campus transportation was a priority for the President’s Task Force on Community Safety, the University said in a statement. The LIMO service has recently focused on hiring new drivers, after a shortage last year, employing marketing techniques such as tabling in residence halls, consistent social media advertising, and including a $500 hire-on bonus according to Oltendorf.

“I think it can be really exciting, especially because the LIMO program has essentially been the same for a long time,” Audino said. “I’ve seen old pictures of the old LIMO program, it looks ancient.”

This story was written by Kevin Fitzpatrick. He can be reached at [email protected]

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