The Penguin Shuttle adjusted its route this semester in response to student grievances about the lack of parking near Williamson Hall. But the changes may be just as unpopular.
Previously, the two campus shuttles traveled the same route around campus, albeit in opposite directions. The first shuttle drives a similar route this year, circling clockwise around campus from the dorms to Wick, Lincoln and Fifth avenues.
The second shuttle is now primarily designated for transporting students to and from Williamson Hall and the M-1 parking deck.
Anna Kolar, a sophomore majoring in computer forensics, was a shuttle regular last year, but the new route has left her walking more often than not.
“Every time I try to get on the shuttle, it is heading in a direction I don’t want to go,” she said. “The shuttle changes have definitely been inconveniencing me.”
Chris Madamba, one of the shuttle›s several drivers, said he’s noticed a drop in student passengers.
“Last year, I would have 120 students on an average day, and this year, I have four students each day if I am lucky,” he said.
Madamba added that the area around the M-9 parking lot is busy only at the beginning and the end of each day. He questions whether revenue is wasted by keeping the shuttle on these routes, especially at midday.
Danny O’Connell, director of parking services, said he believes that student turnout will improve.
“Like with any change, we expect a buildup,” he said. “Especially when the weather worsens.”
O’Connell said students may be unaware of the route changes, adding that information will soon be made available online, in Williamson Hall and across campus.
Furthermore, O’Connell said construction on Walnut Street has apparently been significantly slowing down the shuttle. When the construction is cleared up, the shuttle will stick to a tighter schedule.
O’Connell said his department is keeping an eye on reactions of disabled riders. Parking services can return the shuttles to the previous schedule if necessary.