Students out of loop on shuttles

Citing budget cuts and sustainability, Temple chose to discontinue its hourly shuttle services to TUCC and TUSPM without communicating properly to current and prospective students or consideringPicture 2 requirements for students’ majors.

On Aug. 28, three days before the start of the Fall 2009 semester, Temple informed students of the termination of its shuttle service from Main Campus to TUCC and the School of Podiatric Medicine.

Students who are registered for classes at TUCC, located at 1515 Market St., may be forced to pay an extra $90 or more this semester for SEPTA rides to and from Center City.

I dropped a TUCC class, which I need in order to make progress in my major, from my roster because I can’t afford to take SEPTA twice-weekly. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

In addition to the cancellation of shuttles to TUCC and TUSPM, located at Eighth and Race streets, weekend and nighttime shuttle service to Ambler Campus has been cut.

According to a Temple News report, Temple has been weighing the option of cutting the TUCC and TUSPM shuttle services since April 2009, but no one outside the Office of the Vice President of Operations was made aware until the press release was published Aug. 28.

“It’s clear that the university could have done better communicating with students,” Hillel Hoffman, assistant director of university communications, said.

Temple’s Owl Ambassadors, who give guided tours for potential students and their parents, were even left out of the loop. Their pitches this past summer followed the same format they have since the TUCC shuttle’s inception in 2002: Temple has a campus in Center City, but don’t worry – the university provides free transportation.

Adrianne M. Gerth, the senior admissions counselor for Temple, confirmed that when asked about transportation to TUCC, Owl Ambassadors told potential students a shuttle would be available.

Service to TUCC and TUSPM were halted in an effort to “cut costs and promote sustainability,” according to the press release.

The university said the fact that students have other transportation options like SEPTA’s Broad Street Line and C bus, low ridership on the former shuttles and a potential savings of $247,000 were all factors in the decision.

There’s a difference, though, between cutting unnecessary costs for the betterment of the university and placing extra costs on students who are already struggling to pay tuition.

Administration said Temple’s historically low tuition increase was another reason for the cut.

Two-hundred forty-seven thousand dollars sounds like a lot. But split among Temple’s approximate 36,000 students, $247,000 would amount to an approximate tuition hike of $6.86 per person.

The university’s “low ridership” claim is arguable as well.

“It was definitely popular,” Sam Yun, a senior criminal justice major, said. “Sometimes, I had to wait for the second bus to come because it was so crowded on the first one.”

Lucia Rosario, a shuttle driver for Temple, said the buses were “very busy.”

The same required classes for Main Campus majors are offered at TUCC, and as of now, Temple has not made an effort to compensate students who are coughing up cash just to reach their classroom locations.

Junior psychology major Leah Lewis may have worded it best.
“You shouldn’t have to pay to go to school – and then pay to go to school.”

Greg Trainor can be reached at greg.trainor@temple.edu.

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