Poor Wi-Fi and timeliness concern students who ride ASU shuttles

ASU's shuttles are advertised as providing luxurious rides between the school's four campuses, but for many students, they may just be carriages of broken promises.

Many students have utilized the shuttles to get from one campus to another, and many utilize their commutes to get homework done. When classes and assignments are conducted online, however, this poses a problem.

When the new shuttles came to ASU, students were told that they would have access to free Wi-Fi, power outlets and timely rides via the shuttle system.

However, many students have since complained about the practicality of their shuttles' amenities.

Undergraduate Student Government Downtown's Vice President of Policy Ryan Boyd said he regularly has trouble using the Wi-Fi on the shuttles.

"It's spotty to say the least," Boyd said. "I've actually had problems where I can't access Google forms because it says there's restricted access, which sucks because that's where most of my work is. Other times it'll load but very slowly, and other times it just won't load at all."

Boyd said he believes the Wi-Fi is the biggest issue students have been having with the shuttle system, and that is what he hears his friends and classmates complaining about the most.

Kinesiology freshman Autumn Peck said she's had issues with the timing of the shuttles, especially when she's trying to get from downtown Phoenix to Tempe for her sorority.

"When it's nighttime, and I have to be to chapter at a certain time and they're always like 20 minutes late, it's a pain," Peck said. "But overall it's good, as long as it's not rush hour."

Students have faced problems like these for months.

JC Porter, assistant director of commuter services at ASU, said the Wi-Fi has been down lately due to some technical issues, but should now be up and working again.

"Between January 11-25, the shuttle provider, Divine Transportation, identified some hardware and configuration issues that resulted in very low Wi-Fi speeds," Porter wrote in an email. "Divine took the necessary steps to quickly address these issues. While they are now resolved, during peak service hours, passengers may continue to experience slow Wi-Fi connectivity as the new shuttles offer a 40 percent larger seating capacity." 

He said Parking and Transit Services are currently working to evaluate the number of people using the Wi-Fi each day to expand and improve the Wi-Fi services in the near future.

In regards to the complaints about the shuttles' poor timing, Porter said uncontrollable circumstances, such as traffic, are to blame.

"The ASU intercampus shuttles operate on city streets and highways," he wrote. "Traffic and unforeseen circumstances may delay the shuttles as it does all other motor vehicles. Riders are encouraged to track the status of their shuttle route using the online shuttle tracker to make informed decisions about which shuttle departure will help them arrive before their desired time."

Tempe USG President Isaac Miller also proposed a fee increase earlier this year to help fund multiple innovations that would benefit students, including more shuttle services. The fee would increase from $25 to $30, and would go toward not only shuttle improvements, but also things like student tickets for athletic games and community assistant pay raises.

Students seem to agree that something needs to be done to fix the amenities on the shuttles, but are nervous to sign their approval on the raise.

"There's a lot that could be improved, but I haven't had any really bad experiences," Boyd said. "For the most part, they've done their duty. I just wish that some of the amenities could be a little bit nicer."

Porter recommended a way for students to voice their opinions and help improve the shuttle system.

"Parking and Transit Services welcomes all feedback regarding the many services it provides to the ASU community as it allows us to offer the most effective transportation solutions," Porter wrote. "PTS recently launched a new online customer service survey to gather feedback from ASU intercampus shuttle passengers." 


Reach the reporter at aegeland@asu.edu or follow @alexisegeland on Twitter.

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