Shopping shuttle driver shortage aggravates students

Xue Yan

Recently delayed or canceled  shopping shuttles have generated frustration in Lawrentians not notified of  changes to the schedules. For the past two weekends, the shopping shuttles have been running behind schedule or have not even shown up at the pick up location.

 The Lawrence Campus Life Office provides free shuttles for students to shopping destinations that are out of biking or walking distance, like Woodman’s grocery store or the mall. These shuttles are scheduled nearly everyday to pick up students from the Plantz Hall parking lot, but recently, these shuttles have not been able to meet the demands of the student body.

Assistant Dean of Students Campus Life Amy Uecke gave some insight as to why the shuttles have been unreliable, saying that shuttle pickup times are “dependent on the weather conditions, different driving issues and traffic.”

Uecke believed that in the instance of a significantly late shuttle, it is up to the student’s discretion to wait or try to use the shuttle on a different day. Uecke stressed that it is not always the student drivers’ fault for a late shuttle: “Our drivers do their best but these kind of things happen. They just don’t have a lot of control over things like city traffic and weather.”

Uecke also pointed out a significant problem in the shuttle system. “Right now we are short of drivers. So this year, in particular, because of lack of drivers, we had to cancel some shuttles.”

Many students rely on the shuttle program for different reasons. Sophomore Weronika Gajowniczek said, “Since I don’t have a car, I feel it is really useful.”

Sophomore Karl Schleevogt also relies on the shuttle because it alleviates fees for alternative methods of transportation. Said Schleevogt, “I took the shuttle twice for food and a haircut. It is really nice to have the shuttle because the taxi is really expensive here.”

Senior Sasha Ross commented on the limited capacity of the shuttles. Said Ross, “The school shuttles are too small and they don’t come very often.” She also experienced problems when waiting for the shuttle to arrive: “They are not on time. You never know when they will be back.”

Because of its inconsistency, senior Marty Allen sometimes opts to pay for public transportation instead of trying to use Lawrence’s free service. Said Allen, “The shuttle is so inconvenient… sometimes I have to wait for half an hour. ” Instead, Allen said she takes the Appleton city bus a lot: “I need to pay $1.80, but it’s worth it.”

Uecke claimed that so far,there is not a better solution to the problems with the shuttle service. However, she stressed that “certainly if people have feedback and thoughts about it that can make it more streamlined, we would be willing to share these with our drivers and try to make it a smoother process.”

Allen suggested that it would be “so much better if the shuttles were bigger and came more frequently.”

One solution, hiring more drivers and running more shuttles during the shuttle hours, is possible. Uecke stressed that if anyone is 21 and is an authorized driver, they are eligible for employment with the shuttle system.