Written by Lauren Conte, @laurenconte8
Wal-Mart offers a free shuttle service for Rexburg residents.
Wal-Mart is offering a new shuttle system which makes routine stops around the BYU-Idaho campus and select apartment complexes, according to the information sign found in the North Second East Street Wal-Mart location.
The new Wal-Mart shuttle system is Rexburg’s first public transportation system, and it is free. The bus itself is bright blue, heated and advertises free Wi-Fi.
Val Johnson, a driver for the Salt Lake Express, operates the singular shuttle bus that runs the route.
Johnson said the shuttle usually averages about 50 to 55 people a day.
Johnson said there are specific times that are busier for the shuttle than others: late afternoon and evening on Monday, and Friday and Saturday.
The bus has cloth seats and holds up to 29 passengers.
Paige Petersen, a senior majoring in marriage and family studies, feels very positive about the Wal-Mart shuttle. Petersen, however, still does not know much about the shuttle system itself.
Wal-Mart advertised an app to allow shoppers to access the shuttle’s route, according to the information sign in the front of the North Second East Wal-Mart location.
Large signs display a map of the shuttle’s route. Information about the shuttle spreads predominately by word of mouth.
“I knew about the app,” Petersen said. “My roommate told me about it.”
Petersen said she would feel comfortable using the shuttle to transport groceries, but she would not depend on the shuttle.
“I have some people that usually take me places, but if I need to, I might use it once or twice a semester,” Petersen said.
Lincoln Sorenson, a sophomore studying business management, said he is more likely to use the shuttle system for the novelty.
“I would probably just drive out there,” Sorenson said. “I would probably try the shuttle once for fun.”
Petersen said she shops at Wal-Mart a lot and likes the idea of going to one place for all of the things she needs.
“I think shopping at Wal-Mart for produce would be really nice, because usually we just go to Wal-Mart and then to Broulim’s,” Petersen said.
Sorenson said Wal-Mart is good for shopping because of the prices. He also said Wal-Mart made the right decision by making the shuttle free.
“I think that is a smart business move,” Sorenson said. “Because it will draw more college students in because they built it so far away. Their market is mostly college students.”
It takes about 45 minutes to complete the route to Wal-Mart, according to the Ride Systems app.
Johnson said the popularity of the shuttle will increase once the new location is open.“It’s been increasing every week,” Johnson said.
Johnson said over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, 68 people took the Wal-Mart shuttle route before late afternoon.
Petersen said Rexburg is safe and that the shuttle will benefit students.
“I think (the shuttle) is a great idea, especially for freshman,” Petersen said.