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Why is it that students are almost always sitting on the bench at the shuttle stop below CAB for over 10 minutes? It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes for the shuttle to go to the upper campus and come back to the lower campus. There’s a printed-out schedule of the shuttle hours and where it’s supposed to be at a certain time, inside of the shuttle. This schedule, however, is useless because the shuttle doesn’t follow it. The shuttle is late too often, doesn’t run from around 2 p.
m. to 3 p.m., and some of the drivers waste a lot of time doing things they shouldn’t be doing. When the shuttle is late, this causes students to end up being late to classes.
Some classes are timed at 10 minutes apart and are located across campus from one another, so when the shuttle is late, students are late. Sometimes the shuttle takes so long to appear, students must call security and ask if it’s still running.
Now that there’s a shuttle tracker app, students can see where the shuttle is located, and at times it is seen in one spot not moving for a long time. Another thing is, the shuttle doesn’t run all the time when it’s supposed to. The driver is off doing who knows what. There is the break from around 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. when the shuttle isn’t running.
The shuttle not running during that hour forces students to either wait for it or walk.
Some students could have health issues that could prevent them from walking long distances. Therefore, there shouldn’t be a break from around 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.. Some of the drivers also waste a lot of time doing things they shouldn’t be doing. The drivers shouldn’t be going to get gas during the shuttle hours. The drivers should get gas before or after the shuttle starts to run, or maybe even in that approximate hour when it doesn’t run. Some drivers also tend to use the shuttle time as their own or they sit too long. When the driver is supposed to be driving students around, I don’t think staying parked and using the cell phone to make calls instead is a better idea.
I was exploring the possibility of whether I was the only person that thought there was a problem with the shuttle service at UVI. I interviewed two students in my English 201 class for their opinions about the shuttle and how it’s run. I interviewed Jahayra Grullon on June 5, 2019 at 2 p.m. in the library. I interviewed Ma’Kenya Henderson in my room on June 4, 2019 at 8:30 p.m. Both Ma’Kenya and Jahayra thought that the present shuttle system needed to be changed. The overall cause that I gathered from both Ma’Kenya and Jahayra was that the shuttle was late too often, and it was unpredictable. The two overall effects that I gathered from them as well, was that students arrive to class late and once the students decide to walk to class due to the shuttle being late, the students end up arriving to class tired.
Jahayra and I met up at the library to do the interview. The first two questions I asked Jahayra were, have you ever taken the shuttle before and how often have you used it. She told me that she had taken the shuttle before and that she used to use it twice a week. Ma’Kenya and I did the interview in my room. I began by asking her if she had ever taken the shuttle before. She told me that she had taken the shuttle. I then proceeded to ask her how often she used the shuttle. She responded that she took the shuttle whenever it was possible. She used the shuttle almost every day. These were some of the other responses I received from the interviews that made me come to the conclusion about what Jahayra and Ma’Kenya thought about UVI’s shuttle service.
‘Do you think that the shuttle is late too often?’ I asked Ma’Kenya.
‘Yes, I do. Often there are times when I wait for the shuttle instead of walking all the way across campus, but the shuttle doesn’t arrive on time. I wait there for what seems like almost half an hour and I end up late for class. This is a major inconvenience,’ she stressed.
I asked Ma’Kenya if she thought that the shuttle was inconsistent. She replied that the shuttle schedule is very unpredictable. When asked what the effect was on the students when the shuttle was late or not running, she told me that it made students late. She explained that the students arrive to class late, tired, and out of breath from having to make the trek from CAB or SFC to the main campus and vice versa. When asked why she thought that the shuttle was so inconsistent or late so often, she said told me that she thinks the shuttle is prone to breaking down since there is only one shuttle running. She also went on to say that the switch that occurs between the two drivers takes longer than it should.
I asked Jahayra, ‘Do you think the shuttle schedule is precise or do you think it needs to be improved?’
She stated, ‘I think the shuttle is late because of the driver’s irresponsibility and them not watching the time.’
When I asked Jahayra if she thought that the shuttle was late too often, she replied yes. I then asked her if she thought that UVI should change the shuttle system they have now. She told me that the shuttle doesn’t run often, so they should change the present system. She expressed to me that at certain times students leave class and wait for the shuttle, but it doesn’t run. When I asked her what the effect was on the students when the shuttle was late or not running, she told me that it made students very late to class. She explained that it’s too far of a distance for students to walk to class so they end up feeling like not going at all. The following question that I asked her was if she had to walk any time during the summer since the shuttle doesn’t run during the summer. She let me know that she did have to walk and that it made her tired and dizzy. She couldn’t concentrate in class. I went on to ask her what she thought could be done to improve the shuttle service, if she thought that it needed to be improved. Her response was that UVI should more shuttle drivers, more stops for the shuttles and more shuttles in general. She thought that it should have more of the stuff she mentioned so that students wouldn’t have to walk from CAB down to the shuttle stop to catch the shuttle.
I used UVI’s online library source to find the articles I used for this paper. The two articles I found relate to my topic because my topic is about the shuttle service at UVI. The two articles discuss shuttle services on campus’, the good side of shuttles/buses, some of the problems with shuttle services, and some of the solutions. In one article I found named, Late Buses On Campus Cause Issues, in the eighth paragraph of the article, it’s explained that sometimes the campus buses are overcrowded, and students don’t help by filling the seats with their bags (The Oswegonian 2). A common problem in both UVI and this college in Oswego is that the campus buses get overcrowded and sometimes not everyone can get on. They must wait until the shuttle makes a trip and comes back. Another thing that was mentioned in the article was that when the weather gets cold, students don’t feel like getting out of their beds to go to class and their moods take a turn for the worse (The Oswegonian 1).
When there are harsh weather conditions, that affects the students and how the buses are run. ‘Due to the inclement weather, the buses take longer. When buses take longer, hordes of angry students accumulate. Everyone wants to get to class and get through their daily routine, and they will do whatever it takes to get there’ (The Oswegonian 2). In the Virgin Islands, there aren’t harsh weather conditions such as snow, but there is rain. The rain is known to come down spontaneously here. It could be hot, sunny, and the sun would be shining brightly, then all of a sudden it’s raining. This causes students to be late to class if the shuttle is taking a long time. If it’s raining and there’s no shuttle to be seen, students must wait for the shuttle to arrive because they won’t walk in the rain. A solution that was proposed in the article was to run a second bus and I agree with this solution. ‘The problem lies in the lack of buses for students during winter months. Too many students need to take the bus and there is not enough room for them all’ (The Oswegonian 2).
In the second article that I found, The Challenges, Opportunities of Operating University Campus Shuttle Services, one paragraph explains that installing certain types of technology that can gather data about shuttle runs, would be helpful for improving how they are run. Tieskoetter mentioned that adding more stops and buses wouldn’t be enough to make service levels goods, he thought that more needed to be done. ‘Installing telematics technology in all vehicles should be a priority to facilitate the collection, analysis and use of data in real time to do much more than monitor whether a shuttle reaches a stop at the scheduled time. Factors like driver behavior, vehicle performance, rider demographics and even how the time of day affects ridership levels can be captured, too’ (Tieskoetter 2). Two points that were made in the article that I completely agree with are, students shouldn’t have to walk across campus with heavy textbooks and that the shuttle service should be so reliable that students could roll out of bed late and still make it on time to catch the shuttle.
Tieskoetter explains, ‘The ideal shuttle service enables a student to roll out of bed and hop on the campus shuttle rather than trekking across campus on foot to make it to class on time or pick up a pizza at a nearby restaurant late at night’ (4). Students should be able to rely on the shuttle. They should be able to know that if they arrive at a certain spot at a certain time, they would be able to catch the shuttle and not have to walk. One of the problems with having to walk across campus that was discussed briefly was walking with textbooks. ‘A study by a University of Indiana professor found that the average graduate student carries a backpack weighing just over 12 pounds. That’s a lot of weight to bear when you are hurrying across miles of campus’ (Tieskoetter 2). One of the good things that were pointed out in the article was a pro of having shuttles on campus. At a university in Waco, Texas, Baylor University, students and visitors could ride the Baylor University shuttle, for free, unlike with the buses at Oswego State. Tieskoetter explains that the bus helps in reducing traffic and keeping parking congestion low (2).
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