UB students petition for Stampede to go downtown
Students demand expansion of bus routes
With an increasingly scarce number of bars around campus and Buffalo police actively breaking up parties in the University Heights, students are starting to look for nightlife options further from campus and into the downtown area.
And some students want UB to get them there.
Kathryn McSpedon, a junior English major, has started a petition aimed at UB Parking and Transportation Services demanding the Stampede buses travel downtown to prevent drunk driving and give students a safe option to explore Buffalo’s nightlife. The Stampede currently runs a five-mile route from North to South Campus. The petition is on change.org and had 35 signatures as of Sunday evening.
The petition states that because a majority of students do not use the Stampede buses in the early morning hours, one or two of the buses should instead go downtown.
“Getting downtown is something I noticed many students struggle and complain about. When I mention the issue there isn’t one student who disagreed with me,” McSpedon said.
UB does have a shuttle that goes to the new downtown medical campus, but the shuttle only runs from South Campus and stops running around 8:30 p.m.
Christopher Austin, assistant director of Parking and Transportation Services, said Parking and Transportation and Services is not currently considering Stampede buses going downtown.
“A request for a direct route from UB North Campus to Downtown Buffalo for entertainment/night life is not something currently under consideration by Parking & Transportation Services, nor has it been raised by student government leaders, or in our field or survey outreach with UB students,” Austin said in an email.
Students currently pay a transportation fee of $211.25 a semester.
“I believe as students who pay a transportation fee in our tuition we directly have a right to dictate the services that are designed for us,” McSpedon said. “I think our input is crucial.”
McSpedon said she doesn’t believe UB is taking student night life into consideration with considering transportation services. The petition states there are a plethora of posters around campus talking about events downtown, but that not many students have access to them because the NFTA subway on South Campus only runs until midnight and cabs can be expensive for students.
“Students have interests in the downtown music scene and other night life events that occur in that area so this extra form of transportation would deliver them there or back safely,” McSpedon said. “For students who live around the North Campus, they must pay a larger taxi fee and are even more inclined to drink and drive.”
McSpedon is part of the group Students for Sensible Drug Policy, which pushes for more forms of harm reduction related to the consequences of drug use.
Austin said UB would have to gauge the percentage of students that would benefit from buses going downtown.
“Consideration would need to be given to whether or not such a service is representative of the needs of a significant percentage of students that pay the fee,” Austin said.
But Austin did reiterate that Parking and Transportation Services is always welcome to assess and consider suggestions for students.
Although the issue may not be prominent enough now to be acted on, UB students expressed concern and direct affection from the lack of transportation.
“The lack of transportation to any other place that’s not North or South isolated students from their environment,” said Megan Aguirre, senior psychology major. “I personally felt so sad and gloomy my freshman year when I didn’t have my car because I just didn’t have much to do.”
Aguirre said buses going downtown would change this feeling of isolation and have students learn more about their surroundings.
“I think it will be a tremendous move based off of the fact that it can help the reduction of drinking and driving among students, and it also helps with the monitoring of students who go out on a weekend basis,” said Temitope Olalekan, a senior health and human services major.
McSpedon ended the petition by highlighting that there is no way to stop college nightlife from happening, but there could be simple ways like this to make it easier.
“We ask the Parking and Transportation Services to extend their routes to fill the demand of the needs of the students they serve,” as stated in the petition.
Ty Adams is a staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.