Transportation services talk shuttles at Chapman Grand

The university’s transportation services came to Chapman Grand Oct. 19 to address student concerns about the shuttle schedules and answer questions. Photo by Catherine Owen

Representatives from Chapman’s transportation services came to Chapman Grand at 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 19 to discuss solutions to student concerns about transportation options to and from campus. Some students have said the university shuttles are overcrowded, don’t have enough stops and are sometimes unreliable.

“This is the first year we’ve had Chapman Grand and we’re trying to figure it out,” said Sheryl Boyd, a Chapman transportation services representative. “We did surveys, we did our best estimate on how many people we thought would use the shuttles, so please know that it’s a work in progress and we definitely want to hear what people need.”

About 10 people attended the event and discussed ideas like adding ceiling handles and bike racks to the shuttles, reintroducing shuttle stops to the Orange Outlets at least once a month and using Passio GO!, an app students can use to track a shuttle’s location and its schedule.

“I think there should be smaller time periods in between shuttle rides,” Evie Coronado, a sophomore television writing and production major, told The Panther. “At night, you have to wait almost an hour for them to come and mornings it gets really crowded.”

Because the shuttle services play a significant part in transportation for students who don’t have their cars registered to park at Chapman Grand, Saba Amid, student government senator for the Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and University and Academic Affairs chair, is proposing an advisory board for the apartment complex.

This board will advocate for student concerns related to the housing complex, including the shuttle services.

The times the shuttles arrive or leave are slightly off, Amid said, which can pose an issue for students who want to be on time for class.

“Either you have to leave way far in advance to make your class or you are going to entirely miss class depending on the shuttle schedule,” said Amid, a sophomore political science and peace studies major. “They need to amend it to when (more of the) typical classes are.”

In response to complaints about the size of the shuttles, Boyd said that they are small because they’re required to stop on Chapman property only.

“In Orange, we’re not allowed to drop off or pick up students from city streets as a transit service. All of our stops have to be on our property, so at Schmid Gate, we can’t have any bigger and longer shuttle (because there isn’t much space),” Boyd said.
Another topic discussed was the frequency at which shuttles arrive at Chapman Grand.

“Anaheim … stressed that we have only one shuttle (in the complex area) at a time,” she said. “We can’t have one waiting around the corner, so sometimes if there’s two shuttles, you’ll see that one will drive around the block (instead of waiting in the complex’s road).”

Erin Ash, the Chapman Grand area coordinator, sent a Oct. 5 email to residents at the complex with an updated shuttle schedule, which added eight additional shuttle stops in response to student complaints.

“(Staff transportation is) a major concern for students in deciding to live a couple miles outside of campus,” Ash, who said that her department has been getting feedback from students and passing it on to Chapman’s transportation services, told The Panther. “It’s difficult with the first year of opening a brand-new building, but I think (Chapman’s transportation services) has been very communicative with us.”

As a precaution for Chapman students going back to the Anaheim apartment complex at night, the department also made Chapman Grand a stop for Safe Ride, which typically only provides transportation within a one-mile radius of campus.

“You can’t run a shuttle 24/7. It would be very expensive to run empty shuttles in hours when no one’s going to use them,” Burba said. “But if you have one or two people on a given day that might need a ride, having a service that already exists (like Safe Ride) and runs during those later hours makes sense to add that service to (the Chapman Grand location).”

Jennifer Losch, a sophomore film production major, told The Panther she drives her car to campus because the shuttle is “unreliable.”

Losch said she’s noticed the shuttle can sometimes arrive late. To make shuttle services easier to use, there needs to be a consistent schedule, she said.

“I appreciate all the feedback from students when they email me questions because I’m not on the shuttle,” Boyd said at the event. “When they know something or see something, we appreciate that.”