Students seek alternatives to shuttle during summer - The Western Front: News

Students seek alternatives to shuttle during summer

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Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 7:47 am

Late night transportation has been hard to find on campus this summer.

Students taking summer quarter at Western Washington University do not have the advantage of having the Western Student Shuttle service at night. During other quarters, the shuttle operates until 3 a.m. every day. 

“Sometimes I’m on campus until 11, sometimes I’m on campus til 2 and then I have to walk home in the dark, in the cold, by myself,” said Giovanni Milan while waiting at the bus stop. “And if the shuttle was there I’d be home safely.”

Western should continue the shuttle service in the summer, because being without it increases the risk of danger, Milan said.

The late night shuttle allows those who stay out late to have a safe ride back to their destination. With the shuttle not working during summer, students must find another way of getting home.

“[Not having the shuttle] greatly reduces the benefit to the student body as a whole, which pays for the shuttle operation,” Carol Berry, Campus Conservation and Sustainable Transportation Program Manager, said in an email.

“Funding for a summer late night shuttle would come out of the fee paid by students during the other academic quarters,” Berry said.

“Currently there isn’t a lot of ridership over the summer, and it would cost the university between $40 and $50,000 to operate,” said Robby Eckroth, AS Vice President for Student Life.

The decision was voted by the Student Alternative Transportation Fee Governing Committee between 2007 and 2008 -- the majority of the committee voters were students, Berry said.

The expenses associated with operation of the shuttle are fuel, maintenance and drivers. Those expenses would not diminish even though the ridership would be minimal, Berry said.

Because fewer students are enrolled for classes and living on campus during summer quarter, the number of students who would be served by the shuttle service drops at the end of spring quarter, Berry said.

The Western library, open until midnight during the academic year for student use, closes at 5 p.m. during the summer, which is another reason why the late night shuttle is not operating.

“Taxis are a year-round option for students who live off the shuttle route. In summer, walking and biking are much more attractive, and many students do this with their friends, even when WTA buses are available,” Berry said in an email. 

The late night shuttle will resume in the fall on Monday, September 23. 

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