Home News How do you feel about the shuttle?

How do you feel about the shuttle?

by The Concordian October 25, 2011

Starting next month, students, faculty, and other university employees will be able to voice their concerns about Concordia’s shuttle bus service through a framework of petitions and surveys created by the Concordia Student Union and the university.

Organized by the CSU and Allégo Concordia, a Sustainable Concordia initiative which promotes sustainable transportation on campus, the survey will run from November until January and will evaluate the level of satisfaction with the shuttle bus that connects the downtown campus to Loyola.

“The shuttle service is one of the most important services in a university that has two campuses and Concordia must be able to evaluate those services in order to change what is not working,” CSU VP Loyola and services Melissa Fuller explained. “This isn’t necessarily transportation services’ fault but we need to work together to find solutions. Students really want things to change and they’re willing to help make that change.”

According to university transportation supervisor Mike Russo, an engineering study was conducted three years ago but user satisfaction with the shuttle service was not taken into consideration. Fuller decided that rather than trying to negotiate with transportation services, she would contact Allégo coordinator Terrence Graham to work on a satisfaction study as part of a larger campus transportation survey to be completed in January.

The study will gather comments and ideas by directly questioning students waiting in the shuttle bus lines.

“There hasn’t been a survey done since 2008 yet students are complaining all the time so there’s a sign that something is wrong,” said Fuller. “We’re trying to find ways to make students feel like they’re being heard. I feel that there’s no communication between transportation services and the students to a point that [transportation services] might not even really know how bad the problem is for students.”

The shuttle buses serve thousands of students and the ride between campuses takes approximately 20 minutes in regular traffic. Buses circulate every 20 to 25 minutes during peak hours but according to many, traffic and the limited space capacity of the four running buses often leave students waiting for more than 40 minutes in the rain and the cold.

“The schedule says the bus comes every 20 minutes and I’ve been standing here for an hour. In the winter it’s just going to get worse,” said mathematics student Bobbie Lee, who takes the shuttle twice every day. “If you had 40 minutes between classes, which would seem like a lot of time [except] the bus doesn’t come at the proper time like it is often the case, you could possibly miss a midterm.”

Bus driver Fernand Groulx has been driving Concordia shuttle buses since the service was created nine years ago.

“Concordia does what it can to give the best possible service,” he said. “But if we could add one or two more buses, at least during peak hours, things could be much better. But of course that depends on the university’s budget. Buses are expensive.”

“I was told a major factor is the cost but unfortunately I don’t know what the cost is because it’s confidential information,” said Fuller, who met with Russo and Desmond O’Neill, manager of distribution, transportation and mail services last spring after winning slate Your Concordia promised to address the shuttle issue, namely the extension of evening hours on Friday, in their election campaign.

CSU representative Irmak Bahar is also preparing a petition demanding immediate and long-term measures be taken to improve the shuttle service and “to help the University create solutions.” The petition will be available for students in the CSU offices and on their website in November.

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