By Jeremy Binning
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of changes in our daily lives. For students living both on or close to campus and without a car, the shuttle bus services are a necessity in their daily lives. Whether it’s a trip to Walmart for groceries or a visit to the mall for new clothes, the shuttle which has been in service since 2006, has been a reliable source of transportation, part of tuition fees being $95 per semester.
The iconic red-colored car can be seen driving around campus and town, and is available Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until midnight.
Starting at the top of the hour, the shuttle meets in the front of the Angell College Center, or ACC. The bus then begins its route to Consumer Square, stopping in front of Walmart. The next stop on the shuttle is in front of the mall. Followed after, the shuttle makes its way back to campus, stopping in front of Family Dollar, with the last stop on the route being Plattsburgh Plaza that houses such stores as Big Lots and Save A Lot.
The shuttle isn’t just for students without cars. Sometimes the snow is too heavy or one simply just doesn’t want to lose their parking space.
Skylar Ebalarosa, a junior majoring in criminal justice, explains how she utilizes the CAS’s small shuttle.
“I have a car but sometimes I don’t feel like cleaning the snow off just to run and get a few small things,” Ebalarosa said. “I take the shuttle sometimes like when there’s a snow storm or bad weather because I don’t have the best eyesight. I’d rather keep my car parked and use the shuttle.”
Students like Ebalarosa use the shuttle for their benefits and find it as an easily accessible way to move around campus.
But who gets all the credit for keeping things afloat?
Ohemaa Owusu-Poku, coordinator of student affairs and diversity, aids the shuttle services by helping with the funds aspect.
“Drivers create their own schedule based on their availability,” Owusu-Poku said.
Owusu-Poku started working within the shuttle services back in fall semester 2020, during the height of the pandemic.
“I started the same time the pandemic began, so I don’t know how things were before then. Since being here, I feel the shuttles have been good for students who need them.”
However, the shuttle services now have less seating due to the social-distancing rules. Therefore, less students are able to ride at a time – a main downfall of pandemic restrictions.
Though, on the upside, the shuttle has saved a lot of people from that dreadful walk in the cold back to campus from wherever they were coming from.
“I remember one time I had taken a cab to the mall and bought a lot of stuff. When I checked to see if I had enough money to buy a cab back, I realized I didn’t have any more cash.” Kiyanna Noel, a junior majoring in magazine journalism, said. “I was stressed and annoyed that I had to walk back and just as I was about to get up off the bench and start walking, I saw the red car pulling up. I was relieved that I had a ride.”
The shuttle is a very reliable source of transportation and a big part of campus life. With great thanks to both Owusu-Poku and the drivers of the shuttle bus, the campus is grateful for the source of transportation to all in the campus community.