Better shuttle schedule needed for commuters

Ana NievesContributor

Christina Silva, a senior special education major, commutes from East Lyme, with her commute an estimated 50 minutes to an hour, so she finds it hard to get to class on time.

“I do have a car,” said Silva. “On Wednesdays I drive because I have an 8:10 a.m. and my last class is scheduled till 10:05 p.m. Being there all day on Wednesday makes it nearly impossible to take the train.”

Some commuter students taking public transportation have trouble getting to school on time due to the shuttle schedule.

According to recent figures from the SCSU Factbook, 60 percent of students are commuters.Taking the shuttle bus service to Union Station has become so popular that the shuttle had to get upgraded to a bigger bus, which still fills up.

The new bus to Union Station has 36 seats and still gets full, but students don’t have to go about waiting for a separate bus anymore.

The schedule for Union Station has the first shuttle of the day leaving the shuttle at 7:55 a.m. and is estimated to get to Morrill Hall by 8:25 a.m., making the first shuttle unable to make it on time for 8:10 a.m. classes.

Silva said she enjoys taking the train because she does not like driving in traffic, but since the shuttle service schedule does not meet her schedule on Wednesdays she must compromise and drive to school.

Commuter students shape their schedule around transportation schedules because she said she would rather not deal with the “reckless drivers and traffic lights.”

Michael Avitable, an undeclared freshman, said “I mainly try to fixate my schedule toward a certain time gauge, particularly between a 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.”

Avitable said he tries to make sure his schedule is fixed this way, so he can have time to work on assignments and go to his part-time job because of the shuttle bus schedule that runs every hour to Union Station and back.

Missing the train or bus by a couple of seconds can cause some strong emotions for commuter students.

“It feels annoying because after being in school all day you just want to go home,” said Silva.

The shuttle service comes back to Morill Hall every hour, so commuter students find themselves having to wait another hour to get to where they need to be if they choose the shuttle service.

“There is definitely a feeling of wall punching, a feeling of very strong anger of how you just missed it, and in that situation, you really have to set aside your emotions and recompose yourself, find out when the nearest train or bus is coming and be on your way,” said Avitable.

The shuttle buses are run by a company called First Transit, which follows the schedule put in place by the university.

Greg Tower, the general manager from First Transit, said: “The university comes up with schedule, and it’s really geared toward the Metro North train schedule itself.”

The reasoning for there only being one bus to Union Station running is First Transit follows up with what the university requests.

Tower said, “We do what the university asks, and budget limitations come into consideration.”

Commuter students face daily struggles to get home based on the public transportation schedules, but they manage to pull through and shape their upcoming semester based off the schedules, if they have the option.

“When planning for classes for the next semester, I try to plan the schedule as to very few days as possible, but it doesn’t always work out,” said Silva.

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