Sept. 21, 2015
With changes ranging from more drivers to color coded signs, Parking and Transportation has sought to improve its shuttle services.
Almost daily, nine shuttles manned by 18 drivers take students to and from classes. The shuttles go to Lot 576, Alpine Garage, University Hall and Advenir at the Village (formerly Sunset Creek) via Centennial Hall.
Although the campus has a total of 11 shuttles, two are always set aside to be pulled from later. There are also seven new drivers.
Generally, there are two to three buses for Lot 576 and two buses on the Circulator route, which runs between Alpine Garage, Centennial and University Hall.
Taylor Bost, a sophomore business major, likes the Lot 576 shuttle.
“I like that there’s free parking down there and then they offer you the shuttle,” Bost said, adding that parking passes are expensive and the shuttle gets him wherever he needs to be.
The highest traffic times tend to be 7-8 a.m. and 9-11 a.m. up the hill, and 12:15-5 p.m. down the hill. In the busiest times, up to seven buses can run; in the slowest, there might be only one.
Junior Brittany McQuown said she never bought a parking permit because she couldn’t afford it and the permit doesn’t guarantee finding a parking spot.
McQuown, a health and wellness promotion major, said the shuttle system is better this year than it has been in the past.
“They always have a pretty few buses for 576, so it’s been working out pretty well,” she said.
But McQuown added that people trying to get to University Hall have some issues.
Palmira Frye is a senior communication major who uses the shuttle to get to classes at UHall.
“It’s awful. It arrives every 40 minutes and you only have 10 minutes between classes. I usually walk to my next class, or have to explain to the professor that I’ll always be 15, 20 minutes late,” Frye said.
She said the shuttle ran every 20 minutes last year.
“I’m not going to Four Diamonds (Lot 576); I’m just trying to go to class,” Frye said.
Jim Spice, executive director of Parking and Transportation, said the demand for UHall and Alpine shuttles is generally less than the demand for Lot 576.
Typically 100-110 students are shuttled to Lot 576 within an hour. Spice said 80-85 percent of shuttle ridership is for Lot 576.
Spice said he would like to have more shuttles, but it isn’t in the budget at this time. A new bus costs $165,000.
New break times have also affected wait times.
Before this year, drivers weren’t given a break. Now, those driving more than six hours in a shift get a 30 minute break.
Additionally, students going to UHall have had trouble deciphering which shuttle is going where.
McQuown said students have asked the drivers if they’re going to UHall. Frye said she finds the shuttle window signs for UHall confusing.
“We’ve heard that a lot; we’re trying to change that,” Spice said.
The signs in the shuttles are now color coded to help minimize confusion.
The red sign points west, toward Alpine Garage. The green sign points east, toward UHall.
Spice said there’s less confusion than at the beginning of the semester since making the signs color coded.
“We’re trying to do the best we can with the resources we have,” he said.