EagleExpress system updated for better rider experience based on early user data

After completing five weeks of campus transportation service since Jan. 9, the EagleExpress operation has early data on operational performance and rider use:

  • App downloaded by 3,500 students, faculty or staff
  • More than 13,500 rides provided
  • Average wait time of 11.2 minutes
  • Average ride duration of 7.3 minutes
  • 50 drivers on staff and 8 vans

Based on early feedback from riders and drivers, as well as a thorough set of analytics from the application, the university was aware of early issues impacting the EagleExpress rider experience. Working closely with Via, the app developer, Marquette made adjustments that have improved route optimization across rides and has found a better balance of pick-ups and drop-offs to reduce wait and ride times.

The following key changes were made:

  • Better routing: Several system changes were made to reduce the average trip time and make routing more understandable to riders and drivers.
  • Reduced wait times: App developer Via adjusted settings so as soon as a ride is booked it is “finalized” so the driver won’t take on other tasks that would significantly lengthen that timeframe.
  • Flexible drop-offs: Drivers now have the ability to decide to drop off riders in the most efficient order, at their discretion.
  • Expanded guests: Responded to student feedback to increase the number of guests allowed in one ride booking. Now a request can be made for up to eight individuals rather than four.

Since making these changes in the last two weeks, the average wait time dropped to 9.7 minutes and the average ride duration dropped to 5.4 minutes. Overall, EagleExpress accommodated more trips than prior weekends while cutting the average ride duration.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience while we’ve made adjustments this first month of service, and we are so grateful for our student staff of dispatchers and drivers who are passionate about making EagleExpress the best it can be, quickly adapting to the changes we’re making,” said Marquette University Police Department Sergeant Amy Oltendorf, who oversees the EagleExpress program. “We’ll continue to fine-tune both the system settings and how we allocate our resources as we learn from our data, as well as rider and driver feedback.”

Not only does the EagleExpress data provide useful insight for operations, but MUPD can also use the same information to provide additional patrols in high-traffic areas to help increase safety.

Reminders for a better rider experience

Because EagleExpress is a rideshare service, not a personal taxi, please remember to use the app to request rides and not flag down the vans. With all rides managed through the app, boarding a van that you have not requested interrupts someone else’s ride.

Additionally, to make it easier to identify your pick-up spot, additional locations have been added to the Favorites list. You can also add your home address or other specific addresses that you frequent often.

Some locations, such as Valley Fields, the Milwaukee Intermodal Station (Amtrak) and the Eleven25 at Pabst Apartments, have designated pick-up locations. If you request a ride from such a location, the app will direct you to a specific spot for pick-up.