OPINION | Student government gets it right with new shuttle tracking system

Photo by Maria Porter

I know just enough about buses to know that they do not operate on a schedule but by Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it will.

In the dark days of early high school, my bus driver showed up 20 minutes late every single day except for the one time I wasn’t outside waiting in the frigid wind.

Recently,  Student Government Association demonstrated that not only do they understand that frustration,
but they’re willing to do something about it.

Students can now track the SGA shuttles.

The shuttles are tagged with GPS devices so students can check on their location.

That hopefully means no more teary-eyed drunken sprints down Broad Ripple Avenue.

With a smartphone, the link, and enough presence of mind, any student can track the shuttle’s progress.

The Collegian this week reported on a smartphone application in development, according to SGA Vice President of Operations Kelsa Reynolds.

The most important part of this, though, is not that SGA rigged this up, or that students won’t be stranded off campus.

Instead, it’s a victory for student government.

The Collegian ran a story on Sept. 20, “Shuttle service leaves AV residents feeling left behind,” detailing one such episode. Students living in the Apartment Village expressed concerns about whether the bus made all of its stops.

Honestly, though, it may be a bit bold to hold SGA accountable for that.

In fact, it’s pretty arrogant to accuse even the driver of anything.

Buses are going to run a bit late, a bit early, a bit slow, a bit fast.

The driver is going to wait for someone at the previous stop or cut the next one short by 30 seconds to make it home in time.

In other words, no matter what the drivers, students or SGA do, the buses will not run perfectly.

And in all honesty, a missed stop here or there probably won’t kill anyone.

On the other hand, when everything runs smoothly, no one notices.

Frustrated students brought their concerns to the attention of the right people, and SGA is offering a solution.

The system works, or at least it can—if you direct your complaints at the right people.

The GPS system is on a free trial period that’s probably going to involve student feedback which Bulldogs should take them up on.

Be an advocate for your causes, political or personal.

Be critical of the system, absolutely.

But at least try to lean on it first.

You can’t complain about ineffective government if you don’t try to work it first.


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