By Jamie Reese
The university is currently conducting a pilot shuttle program that will allow students to travel around Stroudsburg on the weekends. The five-weeklong pilot started on February 5.
According to Dr. Brenda Friday, Director of University Relations at ESU, “This pilot program is an extension of deep conversations with Student Senate members about how to best keep students safe while providing them with access to off campus locations. The shuttle operates between the hours of 8:30 PM and 2:30 AM, Thursday through Saturday.”
The last stop at 2:30 AM is campus.
Friday continued, “The route consists of four stops: University Ridge, Campus – Near Residence Life Offices (Hemlock Suites near Normal Street), Wal-Mart, and the bus stop by the corner of 7 and Main St. Downtown.”
Dominique Washington, Student Senator, said, “It’s a great service offered here by the University. It enables students to go off campus and return safely. Whether it is from Wal-Mart or from Main Street, it gives them that access and that freedom.”
The service is free with a standard E-card, so just like other shuttle services, students need not worry about any extra fees. The service is funded by the university, but is provided by Easton Coach, the company that services the university’s other shuttle services.
Friday said, “The cost for shuttle service in this pilot program is $6,750. If this service is extended beyond the pilot, the university would seek to have the cost included in the standard shuttle service contract.”
She continued, “It’s difficult to say what that additional cost may be, but we would expect it to be less than the cost for the pilot… If the program is successful, ESU is certainly open to working collaboratively with Student Senate and other campus entities to provide it as a service to our students.”
To find the shuttle and track its location, students are encouraged to download the ESU Mobile app, available in both the App Store and the Google Play Store. The shuttle uses the blue route designation.
According to Friday, “This program will not replace the Safe Ride Program at ESU, as both the university and the Student Senate find both programs to be strong efforts in our interests to keep students safe.”
“This program,” according to Friday, is “intended to maximize the number of students who can participate.”
In the past, underclassmen have criticized the Safe Ride Program for its inaccessibility to students under the age of 21. Other students criticized the quality of the service.
Robert DiDomenico, a junior, said, “I once called a cab through Safe Ride, and after an hour of waiting out in the cold and multiple phone calls, they didn’t show up. When I complained that I could have walked faster, the guy on the other end told me that I should have.”
Commuter students, on the other hand, cannot be driven home by the shuttle, and are therefore better serviced by the Safe Ride Program.
Washington said, “After this five week trial, they’ll see it will become a vital part of campus.”
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