Shuttle bus, or struggle bus?

MELISSA IANNUZZI
ASST. NEWS EDITOR

Three freshmen girls’ trip on the SGA-sponsored shuttle bus lasted two hours longer than it was supposed to after the shuttle dropped them off and never returned.
Two weekends ago, freshman Lily Pickett decided to use the SGA shuttle with two of her friends to go to Glendale Town Center.
After shopping, they waited in the rain for the shuttle to pick them up at the scheduled time.
“We had been told they were unreliable about getting there on time,” Pickett said. “So I assumed it would be 10 or 15 minutes late. We weren’t horribly worried about them not coming back.”
After 30 minutes passed, they called the Butler University Police Department, who said they did not have any information about the system because it was contracted through SGA.
An hour later, the shuttle still hadn’t arrived.
“We were Googling how to walk back,” Pickett said. “We debated whether we could take a cab, and we called five different people (with cars).”
When they found a friend to drive them back to campus, an hour and a half after they originally planned to return, Pickett said she saw two shuttles waiting in front of Atherton.
“I’m frustrated because I don’t have a real answer for why they didn’t come back,” she said.
That was Pickett’s first time using the shuttle.
SGA Vice President of Operations Kara Blakely said she heard of a couple instances where the shuttle arrived late or missed the pick-up time entirely, through the SGA email account.
“When we addressed it to the company they were alarmed and said that is not how we operate,” Blakely said. “The company was so supportive, within not even 24 hours they had addressed the situation and gotten back to us.”
This summer, SGA switched its shuttle bus contract to GO Express Travel, so it could use the same service for both their weekend and airport shuttles.
“So far, we have airport shuttles coming up, and we have been getting so many reservation responses,” Blakely said. “It seems, based on the numbers, students are utilizing the bus, and that’s what we love to see.”
Freshman Meredith Rashid said she also spent an extra hour waiting outside of Target for an SGA shuttle that never arrived.
One weekend at the end of October, Rashid waited outside of Atherton Union with her friends for a shuttle to pick them up at the scheduled time. The only bus that arrived was going downtown. The bus for Glendale never came.
When the driver got back from his downtown route, he took the girls to Glendale. They waited outside at the scheduled time, but the shuttle did not come.
After 45 more minutes of waiting in the cold, Rashid said she called a friend to come pick them up.
“We had all our bags, we were tired, and we wanted to get back to school,” Rashid said. “We were with three other people, and they didn’t know how to get ahold of the bus either.”
It was also Rashid’s first time using the shuttle, after she saw posters advertising it with the schedule around Ross Hall.
“I probably wouldn’t take it again unless I knew for a fact that it would pick us back up. It’s really disorganized,” Rashid said. “I was excited about the idea. It’s good that it goes to Target and those places, but what’s the use if it’s not reliable?”
Blakely said she encourages students to email SGA@butler.edu if they have issues with the bus.
“Going forward, there should be no miscommunications or anything like that,” Blakely said. “We want this to be as reliable as possible. We can only fix it if we hear about it.”

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