SUNY Oswego's student-created BusShare web tool simplifies Centro ridership


October 31, 2017

SUNY Oswego's Office of Sustainability recently launched its latest award-winning transportation initiative, BusShare, the web-based brainchild of a student who wanted to make it simple to ride Centro's system in and around campus and the city of Oswego.

Aimed at further reducing the college's carbon footprint, BusShare -- -- helps riders easily find the most efficient and timely way to use Centro to reach their destination. Its hallmarks are easy-to-follow steps with visual and plain-language cues.

"I was running (the college's) BikeShare program. It became wintertime, and bikes weren't the best way to travel," said Alex Monachino, a recent SUNY Oswego graduate who then was majoring in graphic design with a web-development emphasis. "So I had free time last winter to take on a new project."

Working with Centro and its bus-scheduling interface for application programmers, Monachino developed a prototype. Sustainability Office leaders Jamie Adams and Mike Lotito, along with a group of enthusiastic volunteers and interns, served as Monachino's focus group for testing and feedback through the spring and into the summer.

"Alex is the genius of this, pulling open-source data from Centro," Adams said. "As Centro updates its schedules, BusShare pulls it all in to our site. It super-simplifies routes and how long the trip will take."

All a user needs to do is type in starting and ending points on the site's "Let us help" home page, using a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop with Internet access. BusShare does the rest: Where to catch the next bus, the walking directions and time to get to the stop, time of departure, route, travel time and, if necessary, transfer information and walking directions to reach the destination. If the next bus won't do, a single click pulls up the next one. Return trip? One more click.

National honor

BusShare and its more established companion program, BikeShare, came to the attention of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, which recently honored the SUNY Oswego transportation initiatives with one of only a handful of awards at AASCU's national convention in San Diego. Thanks to an invitation from SUNY Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley, Monachino and BikeShare originator Alex Elkins were there to accept the Innovative Project Award in Sustainability and Sustainable Development.

"It was a pleasure to see these two enterprising and resourceful recent alumni accept this extraordinary honor at the AASCU awards ceremony," Stanley said. "Their achievements, now available to all of SUNY Oswego, reflect the college's own passion and determination to make the world more eco-friendly and sustainable, starting right here at home and extending around the globe through the talents of our graduates."

Sustainability office intern Theresa Personna, a junior major in both public relations and global and international studies, said she has used BusShare to travel across town from campus to Wal-Mart and other destinations in the city.

"It's so sleek and efficient," she said. "I don't have to be too descriptive. (For example) I can type 'cams.' I don't have to type 'Cam's Pizzeria.'"

Peterly Jean Baptiste, a junior language and international trade major who has worked with the Office of Sustainability since early in his freshman year, said the BusShare website also is ideal for students using the on-campus Blue and Green routes, and for students who commute to the college from off-campus residences. The office has launched a major promotional effort in residence halls and elsewhere around campus to boost awareness of BusShare.

Adams said, "We estimate that 35 percent of our carbon footprint is from commuter transportation. BusShare can make a significant impact. We wanted to make riding the bus cool."

Community users

Can the greater Oswego community use BusShare? Adams urged those planning to visit campus to give it a try. For example, type in a departure point as general as "fulton" with a destination of "campus center."

"It can mean a huge savings in gas and parking hassles -- and (avoiding) a lot of ruined hair in the winter," she said.

The inventor of BusShare, Monachino, has moved on to a web-development job with motor- and extreme-sports marketing company OctaneLabs near Minneapolis. He credits SUNY Oswego's graphic design degree program -- particularly art faculty member Rebecca Mushtare's classes merging visual design and programming -- with helping build his skills and guide his path into web design and development. He also credited his colleagues in Sustainability.

"The atmosphere in the office is really nice and welcoming," he said. "From the nature of this project, you can see that experimentation is encouraged, along with outside-the-box thinking."

President Stanley, a decade ago, became an early signatory of the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, pledging the college to become climate-neutral by 2050. For more information on SUNY Oswego's efforts in environmental stewardship, visit or contact

Easy riders -- Students Peterly Jean Baptiste (left) and Theresa Personna, both of whom work with SUNY Oswego's Office of Sustainability, show the "Let us help" home page of the college's web-based BusShare application. Award-winning brainchild of Alex Monachino, who graduated in May with a degree in graphic design, BusShare provides easy-to-follow, plain-language steps for Centro ridership on campus and around Oswego County.