Editorials, Opinions

Our View: Shuttle situation needs to be clear for students

Picture this.

You’re sitting at the bus stop at the Residential Learning College waiting for the shuttle to arrive. You check your phone counting the minutes the shuttle is behind. It finally rolls up 10 minutes late, and the door slides open. A billow of smoke erupts, and Bob Marley lyrics hang in the air. A smell of skunk wafts past your nose. You step in the vehicle. A bleary-eyed student sits in the driver’s seat, apologizing for making you wait.
“My bad, bro,” he says, giggling. “I forgot to set my alarm this morning.”

You know this is a lie, but you don’t care. You sit down and start creating excuses for why you were late. You arrive at school and walk briskly to class, not just because of your tardiness but also to get a burst of fresh air running across your jacket to get the pungent smell out. You’re frustrated, and you possibly have a contact high. You sit down next to your friend who gives you a concerning look.
You whisper to him, “Student drivers, man.”

A wave of understanding crosses his face. He smirks and hands you the notes you missed from the lecture. You start copying them furiously.
Cal State Long Beach’s Parking and Transportation Services is accepting bids for its shuttle system. Our school’s current contract with Silverado Stages, Inc. is about to expire.

Having a shuttle system is expensive. During the past five years, our school has seen cuts to our shuttle system because of the lack of funding. There used to be shuttles that went both ways around campus just a few years ago.

Even at their expense, the shuttles are necessary. Our campus is massive. It can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes to get from one side to the other. For students living at the RLC, the shuttles are crucial to just get from home to school. Thus, it is important that we keep our shuttles.
Associated Students Inc. Vice President Jonathon Bolin said there is a possibility of the shuttle system being drastically cut even more than it is now. Saving the shuttle system is something Bolin and ASI President John Haberstroh proposed as part of their campaign platform. There was a dire need to save the shuttles as it was explained to students that the shuttles could “disintegrate into nothing” if no action was taken.

Bolin and Haberstroh learned of the shuttle situation from a November presentation conducted by CSULB Master’s of Business Administration students for Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) officials. Bolin said they learned of possible shuttle fee increases. Knowing this, Haberstroh and Bolin were the only ASI candidates to express concerns about the shuttles in their campaign. They even proposed having ASI make a bid for the shuttle system and hire students to drive the shuttles.

However, according to CSULB Parking and Transportation Services, the situation doesn’t seem as dire. In this week’s Daily 49er article, PTS Manager Carolyn Weidell said, “We’re not planning to cut anything. We’re not planning to reduce [shuttle] service.”

Yet, there is the possibility of shuttle fees increasing, decreasing or remaining the same depending on the new contract.

So we are getting two different stories from two different sources. Are the shuttles in trouble, or are they not?

CSULB is still accepting bids for the shuttle system. Weidell said the decision should come mid-June.

Haberstroh and Bolin both plan to sit in on re-negotiation meetings. If ASI does plan to make a bid for the shuttles, it better make the bid soon.
The Daily 49er editorial board thinks ASI could run the shuttle system. ASI has done a great job with the University Student Union, which is a huge operation. Our only hesitation is that ASI would take on a whole new service. Is there enough time to put this plan in action before the school makes a decision on its shuttle system?

If ASI was really going to make a play at the shuttles, it should have been brought up months ago. Something like this shouldn’t have been made a campaign issue a few months before the current contract ends. ASI’s leaders learned of the potential cuts in November. Why hasn’t this been brought to the attention of students sooner?

It has made us think of the implications of an ASI-run shuttle system that uses student drivers. The introduction to this article painted an exaggerated picture of what the reality could look like if ASI buys the shuttles.

If ASI was to take over the shuttles, there would have to be significant background checks and training before any of these students could get behind the wheel. Even though the drivers would be driving speeds close to only 20 mph, there are still 25 or more lives at stake given at a given time. Being students, we know we procrastinate, and we know we make bad decisions, like going to Panama Joe’s on a Monday night and going to class hungover the next day.

Who would you trust more: a professional driver who’s been driving the shuttles for years or the person that sits behind you in your anthropology class texting the entire time?

You have to commend the intentions of our ASI leaders for trying to the save the shuttle system, whether it is truly in danger or not. Losing the shuttle system is the last thing our school needs. They were thinking in the students’ best interest.

But, because of this situation’s lack of clarity, we really would like to see better communication in major discussions like this. It is important for students to know of potential cuts that may affect them so they can have a hand in preventing such cuts.  

3 Comments

  1. CSULB covers 323 acres, which is approximately 1/2 mile square. As a student attending UCLA which is twice that size at a full square mile, I do not see why shuttles are necessary at CSULB because there is not a shuttle here at UCLA and we manage just fine. And our campus is nothing but hills and stairs to climb! I find that the exercise does me good and even if I only have a ten minute break between classes I am always able to arrive on time. People are just getting more and more lazy, I guess. One thing I would consider necessary, though, is a shuttle for the handicapped and disabled.

  2. Corey D. senior

    this article is outrageous. there are three things that can be done to fix this “problem”. we could get rid of the shuttles, thus walking or riding bikes to get from the ends of campus or from the RLC, thus eliminating both the cost and the pollution. we could have student drivers, as many universities implement student drivers. or we could reevaluate our bid.

    the fact that you felt the need to include the irrelevant introduction is ridiculous. sure our shuttles are late, but it has nothing to do with pot use. you are just giving CSULB a bad rap. not everyone is a smoking hippie that comes to school high. the vast majority of our students are sober and driven.

    plus if its that concerning get there earlier and walk or ride a bike. we have all done it before. i really do not see the issue here. plus, we all make our schedules, so hopefully people understand the vicinity of their classes. but even so, i used to walk from LA1 to the music building in 15 minutes. its really not that difficult.

    here are the facts. our shuttles are slow, but students can allow for them if they choose. the thing that bothers me the most is you wildly misrepresented the CSULB population, thus staining the reputation of the university as a whole. plus my question is whose view is this? one lazy grumpy student or the university as a whole? from my perspective, id rather walk to class and get my limbs moving than sit my lazy ass on a crowded shuttle.

  3. Corey D. senior

    this article is outrageous. there are three things that can be done to fix this “problem”. we could get rid of the shuttles, thus walking or riding bikes to get from the ends of campus or from the RLC, thus eliminating both the cost and the pollution. we could have student drivers, as many universities implement student drivers and not had problems with it. or we could reevaluate our bid. pick your poison.

    the fact that you felt the need to include the irrelevant introduction is ridiculous. sure our shuttles are late, but it has nothing to do with pot use. you are just giving CSULB a bad rap. not everyone is a smoking hippie that comes to school high. the vast majority of our students are sober and driven.

    plus if its that concerning get there earlier and walk or ride a bike. we have all done it before. i really do not see the issue here. plus, we all make our schedules, so hopefully people understand the vicinity of their classes. but even so, i used to walk from LA1 to the music building in 15 minutes. its really not that difficult.

    here are the facts. our shuttles are slow, but students can allow for them if they choose. the thing that bothers me the most is you wildly misrepresented the CSULB population, thus staining the reputation of the university as a whole. plus my question is whose view is this? one lazy grumpy student or the university as a whole? from my perspective, id rather walk to class and get my limbs moving than sit my lazy ass on a crowded shuttle.

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