New Stampede buses charge onto campus
Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 19:11
Riding the UB Stampede is now easier for students with disabilities because of a new fleet of wheelchair-accessible buses. The features don’t stop there.
Students can track where any bus is in real time with a new mobile app.
If a Stampede bus stops suddenly, speeds or is in an accident, Parking and Transportation Services will know because of its new real-time GPS tracking.
But even with the state-of-the art updates, not all students are impressed, like senior English and photography major Joyce Adiges.
“I think [the new buses are] OK,” Adiges said. “They’re pretty small compared to the other ones. They get packed really fast and there’s no space for people who want to stand up near the back, since their knees are in the way.”
Christopher Austin, assistant director for Parking and Transportation Services, thinks the lower, wheelchair-accessible floors better serve all students.
“[The new buses] open up opportunities for our students and faculty staff members who have disabilities to not only use our dedicated transit services, but to open up the options to use our system when they need it,” Austin said.
Austin said the fleet of buses was from a 7-year-old contract, and transportation services didn’t think the buses would make it another year. Between 2005-11, ridership increased 30 percent, Austin said. He felt it was clear more buses were needed than in previous years.
“It was an opportunity for us to get the right type of bus to service the university and the passenger loads,” Austin said. “We geared more toward heavy duty, transit-style buses.”
The new fleet features 28 buses – four more than the last – and the new buses cost about $350,000 each.
The managing features make it safer and more efficient for the Parking and Transportation department, as it now has the option to view buses at any time with GPS trackers. Speed and sudden motion are recorded, which is then reported back to Parking and Transportation Services.
The GPS tracker can also be viewed on the UB Stampede page of the Parking and Transportation website. Students can view the buses by downloading the UB Mobile app on any smartphone. Austin thinks the accessibility of these features makes it especially helpful to all students.
However, some students aren’t aware of the app, like Adiges and Amal Ibrahim, a junior political science and pre-med major.
“[The new buses] are all right, but nothing major,” Ibrahim said. “Like [Adiges] said, you have to get there earlier. It’s first-come-first-serve basically, so if you’re there first you’ve got [a seat].”
Both Ibrahim and Adiges agreed they would prefer to have the old buses back on campus.
One of the new features UB will begin implementing this year is the use of biodiesel to fuel the buses.
“The buses are able to run on biodiesel, and that allows us to add a green component of the services that we weren’t able to have in the past,” Austin said. “It’s a green air alternative and it reduces carbon dioxide emission.”
Several Spectrum reporters said they saw old Stampede buses on the Buffalo State College campus last week. Lisa Krieger, assistant vice president of finance and management at Buffalo State, said there are a few of the old buses being used on her campus for students.
“Buffalo State contracts with First Transit, Inc. to operate a shuttle service between the Lofts at 136, where some of our resident students are being accommodated, and the Buffalo State campus,” Krieger wrote in an email. “We understand that First Transit (not Buffalo State) owned and operated a bus fleet that was previously used at UB.”
Austin said there are approximately five former UB buses being used at Buffalo State.