Lack of shuttles hinders students

J’Mari HughesCopy Editor

Shuttle buses are used to transport students on and off campus. Whether it is a rainy day, a long walk or pure laziness, the buses are convenient for students traveling from one point to another.

However, their purpose goes beyond getting students from the commuter lot to Engleman Hall. Some buses travel to downtown New Haven to pick up and drop off students who commute via train or live in the downtown area.

With specific train departures comes the need for the buses to be on time.

Earlier this week, English major, Lupita Barajas, a junior, said she experienced issues getting to campus on time.

She said she and others were not informed only one of the smaller shuttles would be transporting students from the Union Station, and that while students tried to avoid missing class or being late to work, it was like “a battle to the death” trying to get a spot.

“There’s like 20 plus students trying to get on the shuttle bus,” said Barajas, who is also a representative at large for the Student Government.

“It just sucks because students either have to take an Uber or wait another hour or thirty minutes for another bus to come.” In another instance, Barajas said one shuttle came to Morill Hall to pick up students, but could not fit as many as were waiting, which resulted in some of them arguing with the driver.

Despite it being the 5 p.m. shuttle, which Barajas said is probably the busiest of the day, students were told they had to wait another hour.

Barajas said if it were not for the students who offered to share their Uber, she would have missed her train.

Due to the ongoing issue, members of Student Government are striving to better the shuttle bus system.

Environmental systems and sustainability studies major, Brooke Mercaldi, a senior and the Vice President of SGA, said the organization met with Chief Dooley and was told while the shuttle bus industry is aware of the problem, it is difficult to address with limited resources.

She said SGA, understands it is a major issue for students and has discussed it in the past, but is still trying to formulate a solution. Adding another bus, she said, would suffice, however it would cost the university a large amount of money.

Barajas said recently, SGA collected emails from shuttle bus-riders and plan to hold a meeting to unite their voices and discuss what they think should be improved. Barajas said she hopes there will be better communication between the shuttle bus system and students like telling them if a small bus is coming or if the buses will stop running earlier than usual.

“In an ideal world, we hope everyone can get to class on time with the shuttles and save their own money,” said communication disorders major, Alexis Zhitomi, a senior and the president of Student Government. “It’s very difficult to kind of coordinate all the train schedules coming in for an 8 a.m. class. Like they’re all coming in at different times from different states and then trying to get that shuttle with all those students back to campus for exactly 8:10 for the first class today.”

Barajas said an emailing service aimed at shuttle bus-takers would be beneficial, letting students know if any changes will occur on a certain day. She also said she thinks rather than having two shuttles to and from Wintergreen, as students can walk from one side of campus to another, one of those buses could be used for those waiting to get to the train at Union Station.

“It is hard, we do understand how difficult it is to coordinate things like that,” Zhitomi said, “but our hope is that like we bring attention to it, that they notice us and that they hear us out and really try to make an effort to improve it whatever that may be.”

Photo credit: J’Mari Hughes 

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