Change is expected to come to the shuttle system

Commuters are growing increasingly frustrated with Public Safety’s tardy and overcrowded shuttles.

For students arriving by train or bus, the shuttle is their only means of transportation between Cabrini’s campus and the station.

The new pavilion provides faculty, staff and students protection from the elements at the shuttle stop. Photo by Aislinn Walsh

Due to construction on campus, the shuttle stop has been moved to Dixon parking lot, where the stop has its own pavilion. This is an improvement over the previous shuttle stop in front of Woodcrest Residence Hall, which was just a bench.  

This year students have been faced with increased delays and unpredictable stop times. Students can expect to wait anywhere between five and 45 minutes just to get on the shuttle going to or from Cabrini.

The transportation shuttle loop runs from 6 am to 11 pm Monday through Friday and stops at the Radnor stations for Norristown High-Speed Line and the Paoli-Thorndale line.

Why do these delays occur?  

The shuttles are simply not large enough to accommodate the demand of students who need transportation to the train station. Currently, the shuttles accommodate 12 students.

Junior psychology major, Alex Sanchez, notes that students often have to wait in a backup.

“Shuttles tend to be too packed, “ Sanchez said. “So many of the passengers that don’t fit in the buses are forced to wait until another one comes which is usually not bad but still a few minutes later.”

On Oct. 26, King of Prussia Road was closed because a cement truck crashing into the Radnor train bridge. Photo by CBS 3

In addition, the tunnel on King of Prussia Road at the Radnor Station is frequently blocked. Trucks and construction vehicles that are clearly too tall for the tunnel’s ten-foot, ten-inch clearance proceed to drive through the tunnel and get jammed. This recently occurred on Friday, Oct. 25 and Thursday, Nov. 1.

Since the road is blocked, it creates massive traffic backups on the roads which throw off the shuttle schedule. 

Are the staff affected by this?

In August 2018, interim president Brian Eury announced via email that there would be a random lottery for faculty and staff members to park off-campus.  The change would be temporary for the academic year to increase student parking on-campus.

Selected faculty and staff would then proceed to park at the nearby Church of the Savior and take a shuttle to Cabrini’s campus.  The shuttle runs from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, and runs separately from the student shuttle.

Faculty and staff have mixed feelings about the shuttle.

Education Professor Colleen Poole has not had any issues, such as delayed times or overcrowding, with the shuttle thus far. She has enjoyed the shuttle because it allows her to expand her social circle within the university.

“I love that I’m seeing more people that I wouldn’t typically see…” Poole says. “So I’m seeing them more, catching up, learning about their families and getting to know more people on campus. I love that part, it’s a lot of fun.”

Circulation manager Chris Jones expressed that faculty shuttle is “uncertain” regarding pick up times and length of the stop.

Librarian Chris Jones had to walk 1.3 miles twice from Cabrini’s Campus to his car at Church of the Savior. Photo by Google.

He remarked that he has had to walk twice to Church of the Savior from Cabrini before which is a 1.3-mile walk from Cabrini.  It almost happened a third time, but a faculty member saw him walking and offered to give him a ride.

However, Jones believes that the faculty shuttle inconvenience will be worth it in the long run.

“It’s a good system…” Jones says. “[The shuttle] is necessary for the continued development and growth of the campus.”  

What is being done to fix these problems?

According to Joesph Fusco, director of Public Safety, two new programs are currently being developed that are intended to address these issues.

First, is an electronic shuttle tracking system.  It will hopefully allow students to locate shuttle’s locations and number of the occupants. This hopefully eliminates the long wait times outside of the shuttle stop.  It is hoped that the program will be implemented next semester, however, the beta version will be tested out this month.

The second new program is to let student-workers become shuttle drivers. This is intended to increase the number of shuttles that are on routes and would hopefully reduce and long wait times and backups.

Fusco notes that the program will also eliminate the strain placed on the public safety officers.

“When there are over 14 people at shuttle stops and then we have to send an additional vehicle,” Fusco said. “To do that I have to pull one of my officers actually off the road….try and drive to pick up a student.”

Despite the planned changes to improve the shuttle system, sophomore political science major Rakayat Alam feels that commuter students should not be at a disadvantage in the first place.

“I mean we, commuters are paying for college as well,” Alam said.  “Not just residents so we deserve some decent shuttle services.”

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