Parking complaints lead to new shuttle app

shuttle

Chapman Grand commuters wait in a line at Schmid Gate for the next shuttle to arrive. Photo by Gabriella Anderson

After complaints from some Chapman Grand commuters, Parking and Transportation Services plans to launch a new shuttle tracking app as early as next week.

Some of the issues students report during the first week of classes include shuttles leaving late or early, arriving late, not showing up at all and being overcrowded.

“Sometimes I’ll get in the shuttle and there are so many people standing,” said Jesse Riordan, a junior film production major and Chapman Grand resident. “I think it would be beneficial if they had another (shuttle).”

At the beginning of the semester, demand for shuttles is higher due to the fact students are trying to figure out their schedules, said Sheryl Boyd, assistant director of Parking and Transportation Services.

Annabel Bao, a sophomore business administration major and Chapman Grand resident, said that some shuttles come to the apartment complex early, causing some students to miss their rides to campus.

“I don’t really mind if (the shuttle) leaves a couple of minutes late or if it shows up late, but when it leaves early, you have to wait for the next one and you are late to class,” Bao said.

The reason shuttles have been leaving early from their stops are because the shuttles are at capacity. When this happens, the driver will radio the supervisor, who sends another shuttle to the location, Boyd wrote in an email to The Panther.

“The reason that service may have appeared to be unreliable was that when shuttles were full, the drivers departed the stops early knowing that another shuttle was en route,” Boyd wrote. “So to a student walking up expecting to catch a shuttle a minute before the departure time, a full shuttle may have already departed.”

To deal with complaints made by students about times and overcrowding, the new app will track shuttle locations and estimate how many riders are aboard the shuttle, so students can see how full it is before boarding.

Some students also reported blocked entrances to parking structures on campus, despite a number of available spots being displayed on the digital parking space counter at the lot’s entrance.

“I thought that the blocked entrances were a major inconvenience that probably could’ve been avoided,” said Andrew Schwartz, a sophomore business administration major.

Staff members were hired to direct students to available parking during the first week of the fall semester, Boyd wrote. They help manage the high demand in the parking structures.

“There are times when a sign may show space available (in the parking structure), but those spaces are disabled spaces or other reserved types spaces,” she wrote. “We did not want students to have the frustration of driving down and hunting for spaces.”

Parking and Transportation Services recommends that students to try another parking structure if the counter says there are fewer than 30 parking spaces available. To help alleviate the high demand of parking spaces, about 180 spaces will be available for use starting in February in the Palm Lot and the top floor of the West Campus Structure, which is located off of West Maple Avenue and North Cypress Street.

The Lastinger Parking Structure expansion also added 307 general parking spaces for students and 50 spaces reserved for visitors.
Students with electric vehicles can also use charging station spaces, while students with valid disability placards can use handicapped spaces.

“I think more parking being added is amazing,” Schwartz said.“It is almost impossible to find parking in commuter lots.”