Some students beached by shuttle cutbacks

Sarah Griffith and Sarah Griffith

The University’s shuttle service drives the equivalent of a trip to Los Angeles every week as it transports students around campus, according to the shuttle supervisor. But this year shuttle service officials have decided that a trip to Copper Beach Townhouses is a bit too far, at too high of a price.

But some copper beach residents feel the price is no excuse.

“For people who have transportation it isn’t a big deal. But, for people who took the shuttle bus last year and rely on that service, this is not fair,” says Chris Caffey, a senior at BGSU and a resident of Copper Beach.

A lease manager for Copper Beach apartments, Kristen Morman, said there have been many complaints from residents. “There are residents here without cars and there are international students who really need the transportation.”

Morman said there have been requests to the shuttle office for reconsideration of the Copper Beach decision.

But adding the stop back into the route might not be as easy as it some hope.

Shuttle Supervisor Fred Smith canceled the apartment complex’s inclusion in the south off-campus shuttle because of its decrease in use and increased time and cost.

Smith said the creation of the stop at Copper Beach Townhouses was not received well by its residents to begin with. The shuttle office numbers show the highest number of rides given from the Copper Beach stop in one day was 27. The ratio of riders to cost was simply too much burden for them to handle.

Smith said the price of gas has tripled since he took his position as supervisor of all shuttle lines five years ago. “When I started, we paid about 98 cents for a gallon of diesel fuel. Today, I paid $2.90,” said Smith.

Due to the decrease in shuttle use and the increase in fuel expenses, Smith decided to cut the losses and go back to the original south shuttle route that operated prior to the 2005-2006 academic year.

Smith also explains that the South shuttle route had become too long for convenience. According to Smith, the perfect shuttle route takes about fifteen minutes.

“After we added Copper Beach to the south route it was averaging between 19 and 23 minutes, depending on traffic,” Smith said.

When a wait gets too long, he said, the shuttle service stops being convenient and people will start to drive.

Smith speculated that the inconvenience of waiting is the cause of a decrease in shuttle use. When the Copper Beach stop was added, approximately 8,000 less rides were given on the south shuttle route last year.

Smith said that Residence Life and the Shuttle Office have been discussing an alternative to the Copper Beach situation, but nothing has been finalized.