By Ida Ynner Lagerqvist
Some commuter students are still finding it hard to adjust to the new “Pioneer Wagon” student shuttle departure schedule. The change is departure time was made in the 2017-2018 academic year; it leaves from Hillwood Commons every hour instead of every 30 minutes.
The year before, the school had two buses running with a 30-minute gap. The changes were made to reflect, “an analysis on the use and demand of the Pioneer Wagon […] after the 2016-2017 academic year,” according to Joseph Vernace, senior associate director of campus life.
Christopher Rock, a senior game design major, takes the shuttle to school every day. The schedule changes haven’t bothered him.
“I think the shuttle is convenient. Even though there’s only one shuttle running back and forth now, it’s always available to me in the mornings,” he said. Rock also stated that if the school shuttle is unavailable, there are other solutions. “There are the n20H buses. They drive past the school and have two shuttles so that is an alternative,” he said.
Anton Ocampo, a freshman digital arts and design major, has had difficulties with the reduced schedule. He said he thinks it’s hard to time the shuttle schedule with his classes. he shuttle usually leaves 30 minutes before his classes start and the traffic is unreliable, Ocampo said.
“Either I will have to run in to the classroom, or take the shuttle the hour before and sit around and wait for 50 minutes,” he said. Ocampo has many of his classes in Lorber Hall. This forces him to take an earlier shuttle to be able to get to class on time.
“Because of the shuttle only leaving once every hour, I sometimes have to leave my home two hours before my class starts. You never know if we are going to be stuck in traffic,” he explained.
Ocampo also pointed out that he sometimes feels stressed because of the shuttle and that it “robs” him of his sleep.
“I never know when we are going to arrive. If I take the shuttle right before my class, I might have to run. If I take the early bus, I don’t get enough sleep. That is very stressful,” he said.
Oliver Bennett, a senior marketing major, has also experienced uncertainty with the new schedule. “You don’t know when it’s going to show up. If it’s running late, maybe because of the traffic, you sometimes have to wait for 40 minutes now when there is only one shuttle,” he said.
Bennet believes that the school should take responsibility. “If the school provides a service, they have to take traffic into account when they make a schedule,” he said. Ocampo also thinks that the school should invest in the shuttle service. “We pay a lot of money to go to this school. I would rather see my tuition money being spent on improving the shuttle service so I can get to my classes in time, instead of putting extra dining dollars on my LIU card,” Ocampo said.
The campus shuttle faced budget cuts in the fall 2017 semester. In the Sept. 19, 2017 article, “Campus Shuttle Faces Budget Cuts,” The Pioneer reported that the student government association, which oversees student activity fees and program, resource and service funding, decided to cut the shuttle budget to allocate “sufficient operational funding” to other student organizations.
Vernace responded to student criticism of the shuttle’s reduced schedule by encouraging students to take responsibility. “There are some things out of our control, such as traffic and weather. However, we strongly encourage students to always leave themselves extra time to ensure they are not late,” Vernace said.