By Marissa Bean
Changes have been made to the nighttime transit service once again here at Bridgewater State University.
While service during the day hasn’t changed, a few adjustments have been made to the operation of Transit between 7 p.m and 3 a.m, according to Stefanie Eaton, Assistant Director of Facilities Management and Planning.
The hours of operation have not changed, and there have been no changes made to service during the daytime.
Students can be picked up at any of the regular daytime stops after 7 p.m. without having to call to request pick-up.
Designated on-call pick-up locations include the Campus Center crosswalk next to Tillinghast Hall, Tower Lot, Maxwell Library, Spring Street Lot, Weygand Lot/Parking Garage, Tinsley Center, or the Swenson Lot.
Students being picked up at Tower Lot are asked to leave on their hazards lights on while they wait, and the bus will pick you up near your car, according to Eaton.
Pickups can be requested by calling 508-531-1383.
Students can still track the bus at night by using the BSU app, and the transit website on the Intranet has a link to see all buses that are running. Students without smartphones can also sign up to receive text messages through nextbus.com, according to Eaton.
“The hope is that students/riders will now have an accurate estimate of when the next bus will arrive, which will help them to better plan their day/night,” Eaton said.
All buses are also handicap accessible. Eaton said, “If there are students with a documented medical condition or that are physically challenged, they can contact Disability Resources and we may be able to set up more modified transportation to better meet their needs.”
These changes came about after other changes were made to nighttime transit at the beginning of the school year. Previous changes eliminated the Safety Escort system, which had been run by the BSU Police Department.
According to Eaton, changes to Transit were not going to be made again until a full semester had passed, but “due to student feedback which drivers and dispatchers received, as well as feedback via facebook, emails, and other student groups’ input, we felt it was important not to wait.”
Jordan Hedrick, a sophomore, feels that the changes have made Transit more similar to safety. Hedrick previously worked as a safety dispatcher, and she was informed of the new changes by her friends who continue to work for Transit.
Hedrick uses Transit at night frequently, as she lives on one side of campus, but has to park her car on the other.
The new system “is more efficient because there is a specific route,” Hedrick said. She cited the fact that safety drivers often had to drive back and forth from one side of campus to the other all night as a factor in the inefficiency of safety.
Sophomore Angela LaFountain agrees that the new system is more efficient. She thinks the new changes have made nighttime transit more consistent.
However, not everyone agrees. Fernando Arias, a senior, doesn’t think the nighttime transit service is more efficient now. He preferred the safety escort service, and he thinks the changes shouldn’t have been made.
Arias would prefer a transition back to safety, but he recognizes that the return of safety probably wouldn’t occur until after he graduated, if it occurs at all.
One common issue seems to be the issue of informing students of the new changes. LaFountain knew that some changes had been made, but she didn’t know what specific adjustments had been made to nighttime transit. Arias wasn’t aware that changes had been made at all.
Danny Mendez, a junior, knew of the changes made to nighttime transit earlier in the school year. He had not heard of the changes made more recently.
Mendez, upon learning of the changes that have been made, said that he might use transit more at night since the new system seems to be more consistent.
“It has been difficult to get information to all 11,000 BSU students,” Eaton said. Large posters of schedules and maps have been posted in all bus shelters, and emails have been sent out to all resident students. There have also been meetings with student groups, as well as flyers posted around campus and posts in the Student Announcements.
One final way to spread information about the changes is through social media. During the month of November, every students that “likes” the BSU Transit page on Facebook will “automatically be entered to win $50 flex dollars,” Eaton said.
Citing the possibility of inclement weather and its effect on transit, Eaton said, “We’re hoping with more students following the BSU Transit Facebook page, we will be able to keep them better informed.”
Marissa Bean is a Comment staff writer. Follow her on Twitter at @MarLaur16.