Another express shuttle route has been added to serve residents of the University Village and nearby apartment complexes after The Miami Hurricane reported last month on student complaints about inconsistent and overcrowded shuttles.
Currently there are nine shuttles running from the UV to Stanford Circle or the Fountain behind the Ashe Building, plus a UV Express that runs only to the Fountain. But due to recent complaints about overcrowded shuttles and irregular pick-up schedules, the UM parking and transportation department added a second UV Express on weekdays between 7 and 10:30 a.m.
“The reason for this time is because this is when we see the highest volume of students from UV and Red Road Commons catching the shuttles at UV, said transportation director Richard Sobaram. “We are constantly monitoring this and will adjust accordingly. Next semester, different class schedules might mean a different pattern, so we may have to adjust according to the demand.”
Sobaram said the change “clearly has helped a lot.” He added that the shuttles should be making pick-ups every five to seven minutes and should not be overcrowded when they arrive because those are only servicing the UV.
He added that the new express is not costing the university more because the department just re-routed one of the buses during that time period.
However, some students said last week they are still having problems at other times of the day. Tuesdays and Thursdays around 11 a.m. are still very busy times.
“I hate to complain, but it’s true they are ridiculously overcrowded and not very efficient,” said senior Hannah Marshburn. She added that it depends on bus drivers because some are slower and will stay longer at stops.
“I definitely don’t notice a difference.” said senior Joel Alba. “It was just so packed I couldn’t get on, now I’m going to be late for class.”
Sobaram said he and his department are continually working on ways to improve service across campus. He said he is considering radical changes to the shuttle system by having two main routes — Ponce Garage to Stanford Circle and Ponce Garage to the Fountain — that could improve efficiency because shuttles would not need to go around most of the campus, which during rush hour can cause delays. There might possibly be two more between the UV and the Fountain.
“That would be a great idea,” said law student Jeff Hegelwald.
Next semester, shuttle riders will be asked to fill out a survey to get their opinions on the proposed new system, which would take effect in fall 2010.
“I have to figure out a way to make shuttles as efficient as possible and get students to class,” said Sobaram. “It is my responsibility.“
Claudia Curiel may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org