Temple does a lot of things unintentionally. For instance, it set up the Franklin Shuttle to cater to the 160 plus students living in the university-sponsored Franklin House in the Spring Garden area.
It was intended to be a mode of free transportation to Main Campus for those unlucky students housed in the Best Western hotel, but it evolved into a free-ride service for other Temple students and faculty residing in the surrounding area. The unexpected evolution of the Franklin Shuttle was not a bad thing. Cost-free, it connected Main Campus to a mainstream area further into the heart of the city.
Yet with last week’s announcement that Franklin House will likely be bulldozed into a 47-story condominium high-rise and that its respective shuttle will be terminated as well, Dean of Students Ainsley Carry is turning a cold shoulder toward student complaints.
He claims the shuttle was never meant to replace Philadelphia’s public transportation and that students are expected to use SEPTA or find other means of getting to Main Campus. He’s right. However, what it was “supposed” to do is irrelevant; what matters is what it did do, and what it did was convenience a lot of Temple students. By relieving the cost of multiple, daily SEPTA trips and long walks to stations, the Franklin Shuttle was greatly helpful to students.
Although Carry doesn’t agree, the demolition of Franklin House doesn’t have to bring about the end of its shuttle. There will still be Temple students living in the Spring Garden and Art Museum area. The shuttle was created to serve students living in Franklin House, but with it gone, there will still be Temple residents in Temple-advertised off-campus housing to serve. The Park Town Place residences are listed on Temple’s off-campus housing options. Since Temple is suggesting it as an alternative, it should also provide transportation to and from there.
Carry’s unsupportive sentiments regarding this issue make it seem that Temple doesn’t want to help students who live further off campus. Obviously with some exceptions, the average student will have to take SEPTA at least twice a day – to and from Main Campus – typically five days a week. Philadelphia public transportation is not cheap. Students will most likely have to get a monthly SEPTA pass, which clocks in at about $70.
In addition, the Spring Garden and Art Museum areas are far from any SEPTA station. It is inconvenient for students to walk that far multiple times a day. The Franklin Shuttle was a service that filled the literal gap that SEPTA stations failed to.
Most importantly, many students have expressed that they felt safer riding modes of Temple transportation, such as the Franklin Shuttle. This alone should serve as Temple’s reason to keep the Franklin Shuttle. If not, Temple is simply leaving students in an exhaust cloud of apathy.