SGA searches for shuttle compromise

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Following complaints surrounding the new intercampus schedule, SGA senators have advocated to Brian Miller, director of public safety, a return to the previous every-hour schedule.

The bus schedule, which previously departed every hour from both campuses, was changed to a every-two-hour departure schedule in mid-August. At the Sept. 7 SGA meeting, members discussed the complaints from students following the changed in the inter-campus shuttle schedule for the academic year.

Ronit Bhardwaj, College of Technology senator in Hammond, contacted Brian Miller, director of Public Safety, to address student concerns.

In an email received on Sept. 24, Miller replied that he was sorry to inconvenience students and that it was not the university’s intention.

“Last year, when we set up the bus schedule, we were too aggressive in our scheduling and set times that we simply could not meet,” Miller said. “With the traffic on the tollway and the Borman, add in construction and weather, we rarely met our deadlines.”

He continued that an end of the semester survey indicated that riders cited the most important change needed from the shuttle service was timeliness. He added that the Department of Transportation regulations, which require scheduled breaks for drivers, went into the decision.

“Running one-hour trips to Westville or Hammond, they were not getting their federally mandated breaks and we ran the risk of violating federal law,” Miller said. “Because timeliness was a major issue with our ridership, we decided to change our scheduling to ensure we could meet our deadlines and stay in compliance with federal law.”

Caitlin Allen, junior business management and marketing double major, said that she made her Fall 2018 schedule around the hourly shuttle schedule in the spring when course registration first opened up and then saw the new schedule announced later in the summer.

“As a result, I had to last minute change my class schedule that I had made and set months previously. This was frustrating because not only were there so few sections for classes to begin with, now they were all full,” Allen said.

Allen said she is frustrated because when the university first offered the service, it gave the impression that traveling between campuses would be easier for students.

“It has been the complete opposite. What about students that live only close to one campus? Or the students that live on the Hammond campus? I believe if they are going to offer this bus service, it needs to run at more convenient times, including any times there are classes on either campus,” Allen said.

Miller said he will address any student or group of students who face issues with the new schedule.

“However, based on the previously mentioned reasons and a limited budget, it will be very difficult to provide additional shuttle runs with existing buses or to use an additional bus to make “hourly” runs as you are requesting