BY VERONES PADILLA
SC Staff Writer
On November 14, Student Senate voted against a proposal to start a late night shuttle program designed to facilitate student transportation in and around campus due to funding.
The shuttle service would have provided a 32-54 bus traveling in a loop from Thursday through Saturday 11 PM to 2 AM. With stops at the University Ridge, the lot by facilities on Normal Street, Walmart, Main Street in Stroudsburg, and Crystal Street, the proposed route would have taken 30 minutes.
The Student Senate took several weeks to deliberate the program’s merit. Questions arose regarding student safety, issues with public intoxication, and a fair guest policy.
There were no provisions in the proposal that allowed for additional security at any of the stops. Stroud Regional Police department would address any concerns but could not spare man power to patrol the bus stops either. Students were to be expected to use common sense and safety habits and the bus driver could call authorities if a situation should arise according to the proposal in the November 14 Student Senate Minutes.
The Student Senate were also concerned that this new shuttle service would replace the Safe Ride Program.
ESU’s Safe Ride Program is a transportation program sponsored by the Student Senate designed to prevent students over the age of 21 from drinking and driving. The program uses a local cab company, WGM Taxi service of East Stroudsburg. Safe Ride runs Thursday-Saturday nights from midnight to 2:00 AM, and provides a free taxi ride from local bars and business to both on and off campus housing (within 10-15 minutes of campus).
During the month of October the Student Senate paid WGM Taxi $1,255.75 in fees from the Safe Ride Program. In order to fund the shuttle service proposed by executive board of the Student Senate, money allocated to the Safe Ride Program would have to be transferred to the shuttle budget.
Members of the Senate proposed a pilot program for spring 2014 that would test the programs efficacy.
The late night shuttle service was said to be a cost saving measure.
“The current WGM program is too expensive,” said Justin Amann, Student Senate President.
The shuttle service would allow for more use by all students, as it would be available to the 18-20 year old undergrads that are currently ineligible for the Safe Ride Program. The Student Senate approached university administrators for a partnership that would fund the shuttle program.
Amann said he wants to “get more bang for our buck.”
Ultimately the proposed shuttle program failed to garner enough support by senate members. 17 senators voted in favor of transferring funds from the Safe Ride program to the new shuttle proposal, while 25 opposed, and 6 abstained.
Amann encourages any undergrads who feel they could benefit from a program like the shuttle service to reach out to their senators. With the monthly average cost of the Safe Ride program exceeding $1,000 Amann says that he is not giving up.
“This is certainly not the end of the conversation,” said Amann.
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