By: Alyssa Kenderdine, Staff Writer
The scene is a familiar one. It’s 12:50 on a Monday afternoon. Students have just been let out of class and can’t wait to finally go home for the day. They decide to take the downtown shuttle since it’s raining like usual and do not want to walk. The expected wait is supposed to be only 10 minutes since the shuttle comes every half an hour. It’s now 1:03, and they grow annoyed. In the 13 minutes they have been waiting for the downtown shuttle, four Honeysuckle buses have already circulated with a max of five people on each. For students living all the way by Papa John’s, which is a lot further from campus than Honeysuckle is, this is more than just a nuisance. Finally, it is 1:05, and the downtown shuttle is rounding the corner. Everyone rushes to form a line so they may be one of the chosen few that claim a seat on the congested, crowded bus.
So, why are there about five Honeysuckle shuttles running back and forth while there is only one downtown shuttle that picks up on campus another one that picks up downtown? It just doesn’t make sense. There are a lot more students who live downtown than there are at Honeysuckle, and the distance is farther as well.
Not only are the lack of downtown shuttles an issue but they are also not punctual. When I moved into my downtown apartment at the beginning of the year, I was told that the shuttle comes at every 05 and 35 of each hour. This was true, for the first week yet as the year continued the shuttle began to come later and later. I now don’t expect to see the shuttle until 10 minutes and 40 minutes after. It might not seem like much, but it is extremely inconvenient in inclement weather. Then, when the shuttle does eventually come everyone shoves each other to find available seating.
At last you are on the shuttle and hopefully you are sitting down and not being forced to stand holding those metal bars in order to balance while getting hit with the oversized backup of the person standing in front of you. Depending on what shuttle driver you have you will most likely be listening to the country radio station which repeats the same song almost every ten minutes. If you like country music, enjoy the tunes. Yet, those like myself, who despise any and all country music might want to bring headphones and an IPod to drown out the horrid noise. The conversations you hear on the shuttle are also interesting so that may be a good way to go. The best ones often come on a Monday morning when friends are talking about what they did that weekend. So whether or not you want to bring your own music, listen to the radio or eavesdrop on other’s conversations your will have an interesting time on your eight minute shuttle ride to campus.
I have never drove a bus, so I assume it is pretty difficult especially with so many stops and turns throughout the town. So when you are riding on that shuttle, make sure you hold on to something when there is a turn or you might fall out of your seat. Also, when you arrive on campus expect an occasional bump when the driver accidently runs over the sidewalk when pulling up to McCormick. But when you get off the shuttle, always say thank you to the driver. Not only is it the polite thing to do but it’s interesting to hear what the driver’s respond with and if they change what they say each time or not.
So if you are moving to a downtown apartment next year and are looking forward to having transportation to and from campus be aware of the above things when boarding that shuttle on your first day of the year. Maybe they will wise up and finally build that walkway from Honeysuckle to campus, so they can eliminate those shuttles all together and provide a few extra shuttles for downtown.