By Jeniel Terrero
Assistant News Editor
After several semesters of constant demands from students, the university has introduced a new off-campus shuttle bus this semester. Due to consistent conflicts with pick-ups and the shuttle’s small capacity, students remained persistent with their complaints as they waited for results. Along with the new shuttle bus, the schedule and on-campus pickup locations have also changed this semester.
The off-campus shuttle is commonly used by students who need to get to or from Broadway Mall or the Hicksville LIRR station. The previous shuttle had a capacity of 25 seats, which, during peak times, was often insufficient for the number of users.
Prior to the introduction of the new shuttle bus this semester, due to the small capacity, users were often left behind and either had to wait for the following pickup or pay for an alternative source of transportation. There were also times when the shuttle simply wouldn’t show up for its pickups.
“I ended up being 40 minutes late for class. My friends decided not to go to class at all because they were too embarrassed,” said Rebecca Tigerholm, a senior Finance major, said.
This fall, not only has a new bus been introduced, but the shuttle has also added pick-up times for students. The Chapel pick-up location has been eliminated and two new pick up locations have been added at Hillwood Commons and Brookville Hall to allow for more centralized access to the shuttle. With these two new locations, students can now access the shuttle at a more convenient spot for them.
The new shuttle is larger than last year. During the first three weeks of the semester, the shuttle capacity was 33, but on Sept. 28, a 40-passenger shuttle began servicing the campus for the remainder of the year.
In addition, the Office of Campus Life has changed the times of the other off-campus shuttle, which travels on the Greenvale loop, to accommodate more afternoon hours. This shuttle drives through Post, to NYIT Medical, Pathmark, Moe’s, Wendy’s, and back. It runs from noon to 2:30 pm, with new extended hours from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Campus Life Director Michael Berthel believes that although there have been complications with the shuttle service in the past, he is hopeful that students will be more satisfied with the improvements made this year. “We are continuing to address issues when they arise and will keep listening to students about how to improve the experience,” he said.
Berthel said that the new shuttle bus addresses several concerns that have been raised by students. According to Berthel, the demand has increased over the years and this new shuttle allows Campus Life to service more students. The shuttle has increased the capacity by 15 seats on the Hicksville Loop.
Christoffer Løvik, a senior International Business major, said that his initial reaction to the new shuttle and its service changes was a sense of satisfaction. “Coming back for the fall semester to a shuttle with more seats and more departures told us that the administration responsible for the school shuttle really listened to us,” he said.
However, Løvik believes there are still some issues that need to be dealt with regarding the schedule and location pickups. “The 9:00 a.m. shuttle that arrives at the LIRR station doesn’t get into Hillwood until 9:30 p.m. at the earliest, which means that every student who has a 9:30 class is late.”
Last semester, it stopped behind the library, a stop that is close to 90 percent of all of the classrooms. “This semester, we have to go through Hillwood to get to class. The difference isn’t very big between the stops, but a couple of minutes is vital in the morning,” he said. Lovik suggested that to accommodate the popular 9:30 a.m. class time, the morning shuttle departures should be pushed back 10-15 minutes so all students would make it to class in time and a stop should be made at the library again.
Berthel said that the new schedule and shuttle is in effect for the academic year, however, he said that Campus Life is always willing to make changes that will improve shuttle operations and student satisfaction with the service.