The nationwide labor shortage has claimed another victim: Parking and Transportation Services.
As was the case last semester, the organization has had to contend with debilitating local and national trends, which resulted in a 20% reduction to its bus fleet and 25% fewer trips last semester, according to data released by the university.
But Chris Austin, director of Parking and Transportation Services, says there’s reason for optimism, despite the ongoing challenges.
“On the staffing side, two bus operators did not return after the break and winter session, but we gained four and have an additional three in training,” Austin told The Spectrum. “Our staffing levels allow us to effectively deliver the spring semester schedule and meet demand. The schedule currently being operated mirrors the schedule from October and November, prior to the exam period and winter session.”
The spring semester schedule may mirror that of the fall semester, but students have told The Spectrum that last semester’s bus schedule didn’t work for them either.
Nicole Payamps, a sophomore pharmacology and toxicology major, says the new schedule has disrupted her daily activities.
“I live in Creekside [Village] and I have had to restructure my class schedule around the Stampede,” Payamps said. “I even had to drop courses on South Campus, due to the Stampede’s undependable schedule and inability to arrive on time.”
Britney Kerr, a freshman biochemistry major, echoed many of Payamps’ concerns. She says the buses are especially undependable on South Campus, which houses multiple dorms and academic programs.
“This winter has been really hard,” Kerr said. “I’ll be waiting for the bus for 30 minutes. There’s also times when the bus will just skip past you on South and have you wait yet again for another bus, which normally takes an additional 20 minutes to arrive. After a long day of class, I’m waiting in the cold for a bus to come that might not even show up. Not exactly the ideal way to end my day.”
The Stampede operates a number of bus routes and shuttles that transport students between the North and South Campuses. Some lines only stop at specific drop-off locations, and others stop when the driver is alerted.
“We encourage students to reach out to us with any service comments, concerns or issues; by contacting us by phone at 716-6453943 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org,” Austin said. “We promptly follow up on any matters we observe throughout the week, or that are brought to our attention.”
Kayla Estrada is an assistant news/features editor and can be reached at email@example.com
Kayla Estrada is a senior news/features editor at The Spectrum. She is an English major who enjoys rainy weather, “Bob’s Burgers” and asking people who they voted for. When she’s not writing, she can be found hunting for odd-looking knick-knacks at the nearest thrift store.