UR’s Sponsored Taxi Service which is currently being evaluated represents an irresponsible allocation of money on the part of the University Parking ‘ Transportation Services when, in comparison, shuttles serve a larger group of people. More importantly, however, the STS reflects the atrocious communication ability of Parking and Transportation.
The taxi service costs Parking and Transportation between $45,000 and $60,000 annually. The University should redirect these funds toward something that is both easily accessible to the majority of UR students and exemplary of the level of customer service that the cost affords. For that much money, students deserve better. On weekends, buses such as the Red Line have as large as three-hour gaps between runs, which can make activities like seeing a movie at the Little Theatre a tricky task. Adding more runs on the Red Line and lobbying for more stops at the River Campus on Rochester Transit System routes would increase the flexibility of students’ travel plans and would be better appreciated.
Parking and Transportation also needs to tackle its larger problem; nowhere are the shortcomings of poor communication more palpable at this University than within this department. Tickets for the STS were abruptly taken out of the Common Market in Wilson Commons recently, and there was no mention of what happened or why. Parking regulations and benefits whether it’s the fact that the University offers students living off campus 24 free day time parking permits a year or that Parking offers free permits to employees who carpool with four or more other people have a reputation for being unclear and unpublicized. Parking and Transportation even acknowledged in a report last year that ‘information about services provided through the Parking Office are not reaching a significant share of the campus population,” yet, except for one low-attendance focus group this year, there appears to be no real effort to enhance that communication.
If Parking and Transportation provides the UR community with a service, it has to make sure that the UR community knows about it. It isn’t necessarily the University’s responsibility to provide its students with a taxi service. It is, however, its responsibility to provide students with a means to connect with the Rochester community first though, it needs to have apt communication with students and employees about these services.