Some students concerned about safety of campus shuttle buses

Some students said the buses that commute to and from Ambler and Main campuses were unreliable.

The SEPTA-style buses used to commute to Ambler Campus were replaced with yellow school buses in Fall 2018.| JAMIE COTTRELL / FILE PHOTO

Some students are concerned about the reliability of shuttle buses that transport students each day to and from Main Campus, the Health Sciences Campus and Ambler Campus.

There are seven buses that run from 6:50 a.m. to 11:50 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with shortened hours on Friday. There is a drop-off and pick-up location on 12th Street near Polett Walk. The shuttles are scheduled to depart from Main Campus 11 times per day, and more departure times were added in Fall 2017.

Senior psychology major Charlotte Wells said that although the buses are usually on time, she and “many of the people that ride the shuttle regularly have experienced the bus breaking down or the engine having problems during the ride.”

Wells takes the shuttles every Monday and Wednesday to Ambler Campus for an internship.

Wells said she on one trip in February, the bus was shaking and could not go faster than 30 miles per hour.

“We continued driving and after about 30 minutes of alternating between driving slowly and pulling over,” she added. “The driver finally pulled over permanently, and we had to wait for the next scheduled bus to pick us up while our bus waited to be towed.”

Wells said the driver told her there is one large school bus that is more reliable compared to most of the “nice” shuttles decorated in Temple’s logo. Wells said, however, the school bus had broken down the day before.

Wells said these have been consistent issues this school year.

“The university places a high value in the maintenance and the inspection of the fleet on a continual basis,” Assistant Vice President of Service Operations John Johnson said. “Any issues encountered are repaired immediately to ensure the safe conveyance of students.”

Rafi Naseer, now a first-year graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in scientific writing, said he experienced the bus breaking down several times as an undergraduate.

“My first semester at Temple, the bus broke down on my first day…but ever since then I think it’s only broke down only one more time after that,” Naseer said. “Just a few times, d it’s been a few minutes late and then I’ll be late to class but for the most part it’s been pretty smooth.”

Naseer added that many students have been inconvenienced by the recent change to the schedule and commuters who take early morning classes would be late unless they take the train.

“A lot of my friends actually started to live on campus just to avoid that problem,” he said.

Other students, like sophomore English major Rachel Stover said she has been “traveling on the shuttles since last summer and has never experienced any issues.”

Johnson said Service Operations is working on a plan to update the shuttle buses.

“We are always looking for opportunities to enhance service and satisfaction,” he said

“This is a problem because I feel that the shuttle is otherwise a very helpful and reliable service,” Wells said. “However, the engine problems cause many students to be late to class and the unreliability of the buses poses a possible safety concern to the people on board considering that the drive is mostly on a highway.”

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