New intercampus shuttle system shows promise

(Photo by Mackenzie McCreary)

(Photo by Mackenzie McCreary)

A new and improved shuttle system has made it possible for ASU students to commute to all four campuses during the weekends, connecting students across the University more effectively.

Collaborative efforts of Undergraduate Student Government members across all campuses created the new system, USG West President Howard Waldie IV said.

“Various members of student government worked on a proposal which was carried out through (USG Downtown President) Frank Smith, and he worked directly with the Parking and Transit Advisory Board,” Waldie said.

Together, they figured out what times the shuttle would run, how often and what the shuttles would look like on game day, he said.

This program’s objectives are ambitious, and Waldie said having this shuttle system can “help unify us as a university.”

“If you live in Tempe and you want to visit your family out in the West Valley, you can now do so without having to pay for your own transportation,” he said. “If you live downtown on campus, but you want to go all the way out to Polytechnic … to go visit a friend on the weekend, you now can without having to pay that cost. So it really helps us as a university be one university instead of four different locations.”

Political science freshman Drake Tometich, who lives at the West campus, said the shuttle has expanded his ability to spend time with students and friends at other campuses.

“I visited one of my friends who lives in the dorms in Tempe,” Tometich said. “I ended up staying with him for most of the day, and I had to be back at West Campus later for an event, so I took the shuttle.”

He said because the shuttles run hourly, he was able to easily catch one that worked with his schedule.

“It was very convenient, because I didn’t have to drive,” he said. “I really don’t like driving.”

USG West Senate President Jon-Paul Flodin expressed other areas where the shuttle system could benefit students in the future.

“You have the benefit of being able to … take advantage of all Phoenix has to offer as the seventh-largest city in the country on the weekend without having to have to have the expense or environmental impact of having a car,” he said.

Flodin said with the weekend shuttles, the arts and culture that downtown Phoenix has to offer are easily accessible to all students.

Travis McGovern, an interdisciplinary arts and performances major and West campus student, said his experiences thus far have shown him the perks of being able to visit the Tempe campus and iconic areas around campus such as Mill Avenue. He also looks forward to traveling to the Downtown campus on the weekends.

“I would definitely use it to go downtown, because I like the whole city, and I’d like exploring an actual city, and … finding different stores and restaurants and everything,” he said.

With all the benefits, the only complaint on McGovern’s part is the decrease in availability on the weekends, with the shuttles running hourly instead of every half hour.

“I can see a higher use of it on the weekends as opposed to during the week.” he said.

After statistics about the shuttle’s usage have been collected, the shuttle times can be modified to better fit the needs of the students, Flodin said. When there are times when the shuttles are not as frequently used, the changes would be fiscal, and the shuttle would come less often.

However, if statistics show high usage, the times can be adjusted to support the increased demand, he said.

“The biggest thing to know, is that for it to be successful, we actually needed ridership,” Flodin said. “We need it to be sustainable. We need as many people as possible to take advantage … because we’re going to constantly keep tallies on it, and if it’s not something that’s economically viable, then it’s not going to continue.”

Disclaimer: Rachael Tashbook is Director of Legislative Affairs for USG West.

Reach the reporter at Rachael.Tashbook@ASU.edu or follow her on Twitter @Rachael_Ta