Dec. 08, 2014

Ashley Thompson
athomp13@uccs.edu

Cold temperatures can slow down the campus shuttle system.

While they try to stick to an efficient schedule, sometimes cold weather can slow shuttles down.

 

According to bus driver Robin Steffens, who has worked for UCCS for four years, the buses do not always warm up quickly and it usually takes one trip up the hill for the hot air to reach the entire passenger load.

Sometimes placing cardboard in the radiator helps disperse the heat more swiftly, he added. But when they don’t have much time, bus drivers have to just fill the buses and go.

“It is crucial to have a sufficient amount of buses going during the ‘push,’” Steffens said, referring to the morning rush of commuters going from Four Diamonds to Centennial Hall.

“We load up as many [students] as we can in the bus and go,” he said. “If the bus doesn’t fill up, we wait five minutes and then go.”

Sometimes the process is also slowed when someone in a wheelchair needs help. All of the UCCS shuttle buses are equipped with chairlifts for handicapped riders. There is room for two wheelchairs in the back of the shuttle, with lockdown straps for those who need it.

Brenden Lynch, a senior English major, experienced problems this semester with a shuttle bus driver and the chairlift.

“The bus drivers are usually very helpful,” he said. “I build relationships with them, like Carl, who drives me on Tuesdays.”

Lynch was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder in November of his junior year of high school. This disorder has led to mobility issues, making walking a near impossibility. Lynch’s regular route is from University Hall to Centennial Hall.

Since he is in a wheelchair, Lynch must use the chairlift when he rides the shuttle. For the chairlift to be utilized, drivers have to lower the bus, go around to the rear and lower the lift itself.

Most of the time, Lynch said, drivers anticipate that a disabled student will be riding. But there was a replacement driver on his normal route and the driver was unaware that Lynch needed any special service.

“He had sort of an attitude, apparently he didn’t know that I was coming,” he said.

Typically the driver is not the problem. Lynch says that there are often maintenance problems with the handicap lifts.

“I was once stuck on the bus for thirty minutes and had to go to a different bus,” he said.

Steffens said that his bus has been trustworthy thus far, but acknowledged maintenance problems with some of the other shuttles.

“On one bus the heaters went out and drained all the antifreeze,” Steffens said.