As the past weekend kicked off the new express shuttles from York Hill directly to New Haven, students had mixed feelings whether this new transportation system change was the most important addition to be made at this time.
“Quinnipiac should have implemented a shuttle to North Haven before getting one to go from York Hill to New Haven,” senior physical therapy major Roxanne Righini said. “I think that it’s unfair to ask students to drive 15 to 20 minutes each day without providing an alternative method of getting there.”
The new plan Quinnipiac put into place last week added two express shuttles from the York Hill campus to downtown New Haven every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Chief of Security & Safety David Barger said Tuesday there were no additional buses, rather two of the six regular buses changed their routes.
“We haven’t exactly expanded our bus service, so to speak, we’ve just run another route,” Barger said. “I don’t think it should give the impression that we value entertainment more than academics. What we have done here is we have just taken two buses out of our usual fleet, sent them up [to York Hill] and run a different bus route.”
Since last May, school officials have pondered the idea of an express shuttle but they waited for an increase in student demand. The express shuttles are a pilot program, balancing what is most convenient for students and efficient for the school, Barger said.
“People at York Hill have shuttles already frequently running from there to campus and to Whitney Village–they can transfer one to New Haven,” Righini said. “I know it’s not exactly favorable but that’s for recreational purposes, and North Haven is somewhere many students are required to go [for class].”
Quinnipiac examined the idea of a Mount Carmel to North Haven shuttle with residential life and academic advisers and decided that “at the time” they would not run a shuttle for this school year.
“The classes were so fragmented, to put a shuttle on that particular schedule would not work,” Barger said. “Most students who are attending class [in North Haven] have their own vehicles, so they would be driving their own vehicle.”
The North Haven campus is comprised of parts of the health sciences department and the School of Education.
The health science staff tries to educate both the incoming students and their parents that the students should have a car or some type of reliable transportation by the time they reach the clinical component of their education, which usually occurs during junior year, Assistant Dean for Career Services in the School of Health Sciences Cynthia Christie said. The diagnostic imaging program is the only one available at Quinnipiac where students participate in a clinical as a sophomore. Once students reach sophomore year, they are allowed to have a car on campus.
“Usually by the time [students] are taking classes here at North Haven, they are already out there participating in the clinical component of the curriculum,” Christie said. “So they are well aware from the very beginning that they are going to need to either provide their own transportation or provide a way to get themselves from wherever they are living to their clinical site.”
If a freshman needs to meet with a faculty member who is primarily located at the North Haven campus, such as a program director or their academic advisor, staff can reserve space to meet with students on the Mount Carmel campus.
“Probably sometime in the future as North Haven grows, as the demand of classes that are offered there grow, we will examine running a shuttle down there merely because the demand will be there,” Barger said. “It doesn’t appear that this year that it would be cost-effective for us.”