Students say that problems plague Temple’s shuttle system and the University says there isn’t enough funding to fix it.
Temple University students are not satisfied with the overall quality of shuttle services provided by the school, although the new OwLoop service is drawing praise from some students.
Students complain that lateness, belligerent and reckless drivers, and unresponsive program administration plague Temple Shuttle Services, which almost 6,000 students use each week.
The service transports students between Main Campus and the Presidential City Apartments, Best Western dorm, and the Ambler, Tyler, Health Sciences and Center City campuses.
Transfer student Natalie DeFrancesco lives at the Presidential City Apartments.
Many transfers end up in Presidential City, located in Philadelphia’s Overbrook section, when they are assigned housing.
She said that many students are denied transportation to Main Campus due to overcrowded buses.
“[Given] the congestion and traffic patterns of Philadelphia, why not add more busses for the morning and afternoon crunch?,” she said.
Mark gotlieb, a director at shuttle services, said that there is a Presidential City shuttle every 15 minutes during the day, and that adding more shuttles to accommodate the overflow would cost too much.
The Presidential Shuttle also stops at the Health Sciences campus, and the influx of Health Sciences students attributes to the overcrowding.
Many students who use this shuttle said that a shuttle just for Health Sciences should be provided.
Punctuality and efficiency are the main problems on the shuttle that serves the Ambler and Tyler campuses, according to students who use this shuttle.
Sophomore Ryan Soloby said that after an evening class at Tyler last semester, he was stranded for over an hour with “nothing to occupy my time.”
Another complaint of students is the attitude of shuttle drivers.
DeFrancesco remembers a time where a student demanded entrance onto a fully capacitated bus and got into a “screaming battle” with the driver.
Eugene Moreau, a weekend driver on the Best Western Shuttle, said that both students and drivers are placed “in a very stressful situation where no one can know who to place fault.”
Students said that they blame problems on the program administration, feeling that the program disregards their complaints.
“Even if you complain, nothing gets done,” said Best Western resident M. Pallav.
Gotlieb assures students that he does listen. Currently, shuttle services is studying the shuttle that serves the University’s Podiatry School at 8th and Arch streets and the Center City Campus shuttle, he said.
“The University scheduled a lot of classes for [the] 5:10 p.m. block [at those locations],” Gotlieb said.
“A larger shuttle is under consideration to accommodate the mass of students, but at the same time, this time block is the only problem out of the whole day.
Temple would not want to fund a shuttle just for that block.”
Gotlieb said that the Center City shuttle service was nonexistent a year ago and therefore represents an improvement in and of itself.
However, Center City students are not convinced.
Elisa Graydon said that she had to take three classes at the Center City campus because they were only offered on that campus.
“Because of SEPTA’s costs and that fact that I am a [Center City] student, I want to take the shuttle,” she said.
“[However], there are so many people pushing and shoving that it becomes chaotic. Temple encourages [use of] the shuttle and always is giving schedules out, but, in typical Temple fashion, cannot accommodate.”
“We do our best to service and transport 6,000 people a week,” Gotlieb said.
“If you were to interview each one separately, they’d all have something different to say. We’re regular, dependant, and compared to SEPTA, cost efficient.”
One of the recent improvements to shuttle service is the OwLoop shuttle, which began operating on Feb. 10.
The new shuttle runs every 15 minutes from 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. in a loop around the perimeter of the University’s Main Campus, making stops at the SEPTA Regional Rail Station, the James S. White Residential Hall, and 13 other locations.
This has allowed the University to extend the boundaries of the area Night Owl runs in to accommodate off-campus students.
“[OwLoop] is a lot more helpful,” said freshman Morgan Obidowski.
“I used to use [Night Owl] for cold and safety issues, but the first thing they told me was to wait outside. This way, you know the schedule.”
Katie Bashore can be reached at email@example.com.