While students stood in the aisles of a commuter shuttle bus leaving Main Campus headed for Ambler Campus, they were abruptly asked to exit the bus due to a new policy about which they said they had not been warned.
“It has seemed that Temple did not care for the students that are commuting,” said Thomas Roof, a senior English major. Roof, a commuter student, saw other students being taken off the shuttle buses for standing in the aisle two weeks ago.
Temple’s Department of Service Operations implemented the new policy for shuttle buses going to and from Ambler and Main campuses. Students are no longer permitted to stand in the aisle of shuttle buses — a practice that allowed more students to fit in the shuttle despite all the seats being filled.
“There is a certain level of anxiety because it could happen any day,” Roof said, “There isn’t a pattern.”
Roof, upset about not being informed about the new policy, made a Facebook group called “Temple Commuters’ Union” in order keep other commuters updated on any news regarding transportation and other changes.
John Johnson, assistant vice president of Temple’s Department of Service Operations, said a student who felt unsafe on the shuttle because of the overflow of people standing in the aisle filed a complaint.
Johnson said that once his department was aware of the complaint, he was advised by the risk management department to stop students from standing in the aisles of the buses immediately.
“Students’ safety is definitely our top priority,” he said.
Bryan Karthauser, a senior business management major, said he doesn’t really notice a difference in his safety after the new policy was implemented.
Students using the shuttles were not made aware of the new policy until the day it was implemented.
“No information was given to the students at all,” said Christopher Tronoski, a junior risk management major.
Johnson said his department made the shuttle bus drivers aware of the new policy, who were then responsible for communicating the new policy to students.
On Oct. 3, the Service and Operations Department decided to add additional buses in the morning and the evening shuttle departures, creating 35 more seats for students commuting between the campuses.
“We believe that should be plenty of seats. It shouldn’t be an issue,” Johnson said.
A week after the new shuttle policy was implemented, an email was sent out to Ambler Campus students addressing the issues.
“For the safety of all inter-campus bus passengers, Temple can only transport seated passengers. There is no standing allowed on buses at any time,” the announcement read.
According to the announcement, there would be extra seats provided for the 6:50 and 8 a.m. shuttles from Ambler Campus and for the 4 and 5 p.m. shuttles returning to Ambler Campus starting Oct. 3.
“I do like it better than before,” said Lindsay Laird, a senior nursing major. “Now that the shuttle leaves at 6:50 [a.m.], it actually gets you here on time.”
Tronoski said he believes changing from shuttle buses, which have little seating and more standing room, to regular school buses that can allow more students to sit, would solve the problem entirely.
“I just wish that it would have been handled better,” Tronoski said. “They don’t tell us about the policy change, and then all of a sudden people are being kicked off.”
“We really felt bad for students who were inconvenienced for that week, but once again, we really didn’t have any other choice,” Johnson said.
Kelly Brennan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.