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VSU gets new shuttle buses

Candice McGriff
Staff Writer
clmcgriff@valdosta.edu

Due to enrollment increase, VSU added seven new shuttle buses to the university’s transportation service this past summer.
From rainy days to summer days, several students wait at bus stops for the shuttle to arrive. Although some students decide to walk to class instead of riding the shuttle, others make use of the transportation service that is paid for by their tuition.
There are a total of 11 buses provided for students to get around campus, to the mall or down town. Seven of them are new. There are three buses assigned to each route during day shift (7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and one on the route during night shift (3:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.).
According to Robert D. Kellner, director of auxiliary services, and Jill Ferrell, director of parking and transportation, as the university continues to grow, the transportation need for the university increases.
The transportation shuttle services’ intentions are to provide safe and continuous shuttles throughout the VSU campus.
To accommodate students and employees, Parking and Transportation purchased updated buses with accessibility features for disabled customers. The previous buses that were in use prior to the new ones were leased until the new ones were delivered.
“I think the new shuttle buses are a waste of space because they seat fewer people and leaves more people standing, but on the other hand, I guess they are also a good thing because they include accessibility for handicap persons and overall more people can fit on the bus,” Walter Randolph, senior psychology major, said.
Students who use the shuttle services sometimes have to turn to walking or riding a bike in order to get to class on time, and others wait for the next bus.
“I think the new buses smell bad and on rainy days it sucks because there are not enough buses on each route… one day I had to stand three times,” Nicole Frazier, senior sociology major, said. “I walk to class more often because the buses are too slow, also the service is horrible at night.”
According to Kellner and Ferrell, walking and riding bikes are definitely responsible initiatives that students are encouraged to do if they decide not to ride the shuttles, and on days of bad weather, students are encouraged to re-adjust their schedules as needed to make it to their destination on time.
“I feel they should be more efficient to fit the needs of the student body, because the new buses hold less people than the older ones and many have to stand,” Dolisha Emanuel, senior sociology major, said. “There should have been a trial and error process to fit VSU’s growing student body.”
Occasionally, a student may experience a bus that is full, but typically bus capacity is not an issue, according to Kellner and Ferrell. Also, as the university continues to grow, the Parking and Transportation Department will adjust accordingly to meet the transportation needs, and hopefully additional buses can be purchased in the future.
“I really like the new buses because they conveniently have good air conditioning, but they are mostly crowded due to the enrollment increase,” Christy Johnson, senior Spanish major. said. “I don’t like when it’s crowded because it is hard to stand without falling when the buses are turning.”
“Most of the buses are too crowded, but the hand rails are convenient when having to stand,” Brandon Corley, sophomore history major. said. “The older buses held more people and were more convenient because not many people had to stand.”

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