The campus shuttle service may have been implemented to make life on and around campus easier, but many students have concerns about it.
The shuttle system, started three years ago, currently runs from various shuttle stops on campus including Pine Grove, North Lot and Hogan Lot.
The shuttle also services off campus locations such as parking lots, New Haven nightspots and Hamden shopping areas.
Throughout the operation of the shuttle system, students have complained about the inadequacy of the shuttle and feel that it is not a dependable system.
Timeliness is the main concern. Many students rely on the shuttle transportation to get to off campus jobs and appointments. However, they find it hard to rely on a system that is often late and sometimes does not come at all.
“The shuttle needs to be timely, and most times it’s not,” said freshman Laura Bingiel. “Some drivers are good and efficient, but others are average at best.”
Students reported being late for work and even completely missing appointments. Others have waited in the cold for hours before a shuttle arrived to bring them back to campus.
“I have known people to wait up to three hours for the shuttle and finally they gave up and took a taxi,” said freshman Tammy Rutledge.
The evening shuttle is another cause for student concern. Ann Kovall is a senior with many night classes in Pine Grove. Kovall is mainly concerned about the night shuttle system that runs from the North Lot to Hogan Lot.
“First of all, the shuttle does not come to Pine Grove after 6 p.m. At night after my classes I have been running in the freezing cold to the North Lot to catch the shuttle,” she said. “I have watched two shuttles at once sit in various places with no students coming or going while I wait for them to pick me up. Several times a security guard has picked me up and brought me to Hogan lot.”
The speed of the shuttle is another issue among students. According to campus security, shuttle drivers are required to maintain a reasonable speed and travel from bus stop to bus stop without delay.
“I have noticed the drivers traveling at such ridiculously slow speeds as 15-20 mph,” said Kovall. “I also have had several night drivers see me waiting at the North Lot stop freezing and they still proceed to take their precious time in picking me up. Once they pick me up, they continue at this horrendous speed.”
Meanwhile, security and Student Government Association are aware of the issues and are working together to address student concerns.
SGA’s Vice President of Student Concerns, Dan Looney, said his committee rode the shuttles, talked to drivers and took observations to find out what needs to be done to improve the system.
“The shuttle system has been an ongoing issue since it was implemented three years ago,” said Looney. “However, we are working so that we can all see huge improvements very soon.”
Chief of Security John Twining said Quinnipiac has a good working relationship with Dattco, the bus company that operates the shuttle.
“They value our contract and don’t want to lose our business, so they are always willing to service us,” said Twining.
Twining said he has already spoken with the supervisor for the evening shift. He is also in close contact with Dattco’s office supervisor who is always on call to handle issues.
One reason the shuttle issue is hard to solve is because there is not a department that specifically handles the shuttle, according to Twining.
Twining said that there is currently a job posting for an individual whose main responsibility will be campus transportation. The person would handle all issues regarding parking and the shuttle system.
“Once we have the position filled, we will be able to get a more solid grasp on campus transportation issues,” said Twining.
Twining also says that students need to understand that the shuttle drivers work long hours and are entitled to a short break every few hours.
He also said that, occasionally, issues such as traffic and accidents will arise that are beyond the control of the drivers.
Both Twining and Looney urge students to report their specific complaints directly to them so that the shuttle issue can be improved.
They can be reached at their respective emails, John.Twining @quinnipiac.edu and Daniel. [email protected]
Looney also invites students to attend SGA meetings, where they may bring their campus issues to his attention. SGA then brings these issues to security or the appropriate department able to address the particular concern.