Shuttle schedule sparks concerns with students

Katelyn McBride

Adjustments made to the Quinnipiac University shuttle system, from changed routes to delayed pickups, have left some students disappointed despite Quinnipiac’s efforts to make the system run more smoothly. “I was turned off by my experience with the shuttle,” said freshman Geoff Guimaraes. Guimaraes was left waiting at the Hamden Stop and Shop for nearly two hours one day.
Quinnipiac, with an ever-expanding campus, has been working diligently to meet the demands of a growing student body, and its desire to travel off campus. Administrators are working to address the new concerns students have raised, such as those expressed by Guimaraes.
“It has been an ongoing project,” explained Kerstin Soderlund, director of the Carl Hansen Student Center.
Soderlund, and Maria Bimonte, associate director of Administrative Services, have revised the shuttle system in order to provide students with more shuttles, stops and a more extensive time schedule.
The majority of students taking advantage of the shuttle include sophomores, who leave campus to get their cars, or students who go shopping at places like Bon Ton, Old Navy and CVS. The biggest complaints from students last year were late shuttles and the lack of consistency in arrival and departure times.
John Twining, chief of Security and safety, said students need to be more understanding.
“By the time [students] got back, their ice-cream melted,” said Twining. “There are always going to be complaints, though, because [the shuttle] can’t meet everyone’s expectations all of the time.”
Sometimes problems in the shuttle system occur based on natural occurrences, such as high traffic or poor weather conditions, said Twining. In spite of Quinnipiac’s efforts to help make the shuttle system run smoothly, there is only so much the university can do.
Dattco, the company that Quinnipiac requested for shuttle service, hires drivers and holds its own standards of operation. When a student makes a complaint, it is Quinnipiac’s job to talk to company officials of Dattco in order to solve the problem.
Last year, one shuttle bus left campus every 90 minutes, servicing the Hamden area to Union Station in New Haven, and one shuttle bus left campus about every 15-30 minutes transporting students to and from the Whitney Avenue parking lot.
It was not until the second semester of last year that Quinnipiac made changes to the Hamden and New Haven shuttle route, adding stops to Temple, Chapel, York and Elm streets in New Haven.
Currently, Quinnipiac has two shuttles that stop at the bottom of the Commons’ Bridge and run separately from one another for Hamden and New Haven.
The University also offers two more shuttles, which run to and from campus, servicing those with cars parked in the Whitney Avenue and Westwoods parking lots.
Of the two that provide transportation to Hamden and New Haven, one now services the Hamden area every 30 minutes, with an added stop to the YMCA, and one now services New Haven, a one-hour loop, providing the same stops as last semester. Both shuttles run every day throughout the week, with minor changes in times depending on the particular day.
Recent studies showing the most highly used shuttle routes have helped determine the current schedules implemented by the university.
Currently, the Hamden and New Haven shuttles run every Monday through Wednesday from 12 noon until 11:50 p.m. and on Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. until 2:20 a.m., which is much later than last year’s pick-up time.
The Whitney Avenue shuttle leaves every morning at 6:15 a.m. and runs until 11 p.m. The Westwoods shuttle runs Sunday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. and Thursday through Saturday until 3 a.m. Both shuttles travel from Dorm Road to both lots on a ten to fifteen minute schedule.
Soderlund and others found that students generally take the shuttle at earlier times towards the end of the week for weekend travels home, and late nights when they go out. She said reviewing the times when students most likely use the shuttle saves money and aggravation for the university, the drivers and Dattco.
With last year’s student deaths, some attributed to alcohol use, senior Anthony Galasso points out the benefit of having a late-night shuttle to assist students attending activities off campus, where people would otherwise be forced to drive, sometimes after drinking.
“It’s a lot safer than having people drive home,” Galasso said.