Since last Thursday, two separate accidents have occurred involving UR shuttle buses—one this past Friday and one this past Monday. Though the accidents themselves were unfortunate, what was more troubling was the fact that, during this week’s Senate meeting, Director of Parking and Transportation Services Hugh Kierig  admitted that he had little knowledge of whether and how the Monday night accident had happened.

While it’s worth noting that he said that this instance was exceptional, the lack of communication between all parties involved is problematic. With the bus stalled, many students were left waiting for shuttles that never came, and students were left in the cold as they waited for shuttles to be redirected to their locations. Admirably, Director Kierig acknowledged these mishaps in handling the issue, saying that Parking and Transportation Services would look to avoid future incidents of this nature and similar breakdowns in communication.

The Campus Times urges Parking and Transportation  Services to move forward with these improvements and offers up a few ideas to include in any upgrade plans.

Some of the suggestions were aired at this week’s Senate meeting, but we would like to reiterate their importance.

First, we think it would be useful for Parking and Transportation Services to collaborate more closely with SA in order to better provide the student body with options for input and suggestions. There should be a clear outlet for students to give feedback regarding their transportation needs, and students should be informed about how they can voice their thoughts and things they feel parking should be concerned about or checking.

An easy way this could be done would be through the inclusion of a submission form or link on SA’s laudable new Student Essentials website. At this past week’s Senate meeting, numerous Senators expressed interest in working with Parking and Transportation Services, an action we applaud. We urge them to work more closely in the future.

Second, an opt-in alert system to let students know of accidents, incidents or delays would go a long way in soothing student discontent and letting students know about incidents that affect them.

Third, as was expressed during this week’s SA meeting, it is also the responsibility of drivers to ensure that students are promptly and safely transported to their destinations. Time spent on a slow  or delayed shuttle can prove detrimental to a student’s schedule, particularly if they end up late to a job, class, quiz or test.

We commend UR’s drivers for their dedication to helping our community thrive, but we urge them to strive for greater heights.

In conjunction with existing solutions that Parking and Transportation Services have in stock, these suggestions could help make our shuttle system both safer and more effective.

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