Passenger increase keeps shuttles truckin’

Christina Stolfi

Last year, on a busy Thursday night, approximately 600 students would take the shuttle into New Haven. This year, the shuttles are experiencing an increase in the number of its student passengers.

“On a busy Thursday or Saturday night, approximately 700 to 800 students ride the shuttle into New Haven,” said Ronald Colavolpe, the assistant director of parking and transportation. “This accounts for a minimum of a 100 person jump between the 2005/2006 and the 2006/2007 school years.

Colavolpe says that the weekends continue to be the busiest times to ride the shuttle.

“The first Thursday and Saturday nights of the year are the biggest,” he said. “The freshmen are ready to party. But then it tapers back down again.”

One student thinks that the increase may be due to a proportional increase of students.

“I think Quinnipiac accepting more freshmen students has to do with why there are more students taking the shuttle,” said sophomore Kristen Romano.

Colavolpe says the shuttle system has come a long way since its initial conception.

“Well, we started with one bus going into Hamden, and have grown from there,” he said.

After the shuttle program was implemented, there has been steady student usage. A shuttle travelling to Hamden came first followed by one to New Haven and North Haven thereafter.

Today, Quinnipiac currently has shuttles visiting these three different locations continuously throughout the day and night. Sunday through Thursday there are two shuttles running continuously and after 9 p.m. on Thursday, there are a total of five shuttles making the trip.

On a Friday night there are a total of three shuttles running. In the eleven years that Colavolpe has been working at Quinnipiac, it has been his experience that Friday’s are “light nights,” only taking about 300 students into New Haven per night.

On Saturdays the number of shuttles jumps up again to six, to meet the demands of the students riding the shuttles.

“Each bus probably makes three to four trips a night,” Colavolpe said. “This is done so that students can constantly find themselves transportation.

In order to keep on a schedule and to keep problems from arising, there are security officers on duty on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. They rotate throughout the night between the shuttle stop on Dorm Road, out in the field in New Haven and riding on the shuttles themselves. On Thursday nights there are five security officers on duty, Fridays there are three and Saturday nights there are six.

However, even with all of the security, problems still arise.

“I think the majority of students appreciate it [the shuttle service] but there is that three percent that abuses it,” Colavolpe said. “I don’t think most students would vomit in their parents’ cars.some students need to have more consideration.”

Colavolpe also said that “here is a problem with students urinating on the buses. Seems as though the students are urinating in bottles and leaving them on the buses.”

On a Saturday night, the last shuttle leaves Quinnipiac at 2:35 a.m. and returns back to campus at 3:30 a.m. On Quinnipiac’s Web site, it is clearly stated, “any student missing the last shuttle will have to arrange for his/her own transportation back to campus.”

However, Colavolpe said, “We communicate with the bus drivers through Nextel services. If someone calls the campus looking for the shuttle and [the shuttle] is still in the area, the driver will go back.”