Are You Running Late Today? So Are the Shuttles.

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Published March 21, 2018
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The Montclarion

As a commuter, it is likely to come across and utilize the shuttle service on campus to get from the parking lots to classes. However, when using these services, the arrival time for shuttles are not the most accurate.

Senior English major Susan Liberti explained her experience when taking the shuttle service at Montclair State University.

“One time I was like 40 minutes late to class because I was waiting for the bus for so long,” Liberti said. “Fortunately for me, my professor didn’t really mind me being late.”

She noticed that around 5:30 p.m., the evening shuttles usually go on break.

“There were three shuttle buses back-to-back that were not in service one day,” Liberti said.

The university also supplies students with an application called NextBus, which determines the arrival of the buses. According to the Office Administrator from Transportation Services, Kent Daniel, NextBus shows live tracking for the buses running at any given time during the day.

When questioned if she used the application, Liberti did not seem impressed.

“The app is not super exact but they provide me with an estimated time period during the mornings,” Liberti said. “In the evenings, it usually says there are no current predictions and I have no idea if there [are] any buses running.”

Many students have expressed their displeasure with the service of the bus shuttles. William Fitzpatrick, assistant vice president at the Facilities Logistics & Support Services, said many things impact the delay of the buses.

“What really impacts the delay in the schedule is the traffic on the roads when students are changing to and from classes,” Fitzpatrick said. “We’re always adjusting the bus schedule, we never stop watching and we’re recalibrating according to the ridership.”

Rushing

A high volume of students wait for the bus shuttles at University Hall.
Sunah Choudhry | The Montclarion

According to Fitzpatrick, five years ago there were only five to six buses on the road, but now there is double that amount. In addition to the added number of shuttles, there are around 30 to 35 large shuttles on campus that can carry 60 passengers.

“There are 12 shuttle buses during the day and 75 percent of the ridership comes from Lot 60 and The Village,” Fitzpatrick said. “Having a dedicated bus route for The Village and Transit really made a big difference in the service and improved the efficiency.”

Commuters are not the only ones who deal with the inefficient bus schedules. Residents on campus also face similar experiences.

William Collins, a current sophomore student, explains the bus route from Machuga Hall.
Carly Henriquez | The Montclarion

“During the weekends, they’re never on time,” said sophomore theatre studies major William Collins. “They show up 15 to 20 minutes late or won’t show up at all. It’s not reliable.”

Collins, also frustrated with the shuttle service, explained that when he takes the shuttle from Dinallo Heights to University Hall, there are multiple stops in between and sometimes the bus does not take the passengers to the destination that is listed on the bus route.

“I was on the shuttle once and I had to go Lot 60,” Collins said. “I took the bus from the Red Hawk Deck and the bus sign said ‘All Campus.’ But it wasn’t going to Lot 60, so I had to be dropped off in front of NJ Transit and walk from there which made no sense to me.”

Andrew Montalvo, a freshman and undeclared student, hangs out at Blanton Hall.
Carly Henriquez | The Montclarion

Andrew Montalvo, an undeclared freshman who is a resident at Machuga Heights, voiced his opinion on the matter.

“I prefer walking [instead of taking the buses],” Montalvo said. “I have a bus stop in front of my dorm, but I still avoid the shuttle.”

Fitzpatrick responded after hearing the inconveniences that students face when taking the shuttle service.

“Waiting 40 minutes for the bus should never happen,” Fitzpatrick said. “But sometimes you have to plan accordingly.”

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