SHUFLY raises student concern
In spite of a few students’ complaints about the punctuality of the SHUFLY Shuttle, Parking Services Manager Ann Szipszky said that up until Tuesday morning, neither Parking Services nor Public Safety and Security had any reports from students of problems with the SHUFLY service.
However, senior Samantha Khoury said the other night when she and her roommate were waiting for the SHUFLY it never showed up. Khoury said that she did not ride the SHUFLY frequently, but when she did she hadn’t encountered problems prior to this one.
“In the past the SHUFLY has been reliable, but this year was the first time that the SHUFLY never stopped at its appointed time and place, which was upsetting,” Khoury said.
Junior Kristen Napolitano said she takes the SHUFLY at least four times a week because she lives in Ora. Napolitano said while the she generally didn’t have problems with the SHUFLY, she found that the early morning schedule, which goes from 7:32 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. Monday-Friday, tends to be less reliable than the regular block schedule.
Napolitano said she has an early morning class and when she tried to catch the 8:37 a.m. SHUFLY from Ora Manor, it was not there. She said she called the Office of Public Safety and Security and the told her the SHUFLY was en route.
“I waited from 8:37 to 8:52 and it never showed up,” Napolitano said, adding that she checked the mobile GPS app that tracks the SHUFLY directly after speaking with the office, only to find there was no shuttle present anywhere on the route. “And the driver should have been driving for about an hour at that point,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano said she has stopped relying on the SHUFLY for her morning class, however she hasn’t had any problems during the regular shuttle schedule.
Additionally, sophomore Allison Rowan said she rode the SHUFLY every other day last year, although not as much this year. Rowan said she had problems with the SHUFLY not showing up “a few times,” this year and last.
“Even if I was walking to a stop in town and they drove past me and I would try to wave them down they would not stop and just keep going,” Rowan said.
According to Szipszky, there are guidelines on timeliness for the SHUFLY drivers set by Seton Hall and Air Brook Limousine, the company the school contracts with to provide the shuttle. Additionally, if a driver is late or having trouble adhering to the schedule, there is a protocol for drivers, which includes contacting their dispatcher, Szipszky said.
Szipszky did not elaborate further on what else the guidelines or protocol includes.
Rowan added that she had had seen the SHUFLY driver texting or speaking on the phone and driving in the past.
According to the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles website, texting and driving is illegal, and use of a hand held cell phone while driving is prohibited, unless it is a school bus driver and there is an emergency.
Szipszky said that all the SHUFLY drivers are required to follow the laws and driving regulations of New Jersey and “operate their vehicle in a safe manner for all concerned.”
All the drivers have a GPS system installed in their shuttles and students can track the whereabouts of the SHUFLY Shuttle online at shuflyshuttle.com or on their mobile devices at shuflyshuttle.com/m, Szipszky said.
Senior David Rind, who said he rides the SHUFLY four to five days a week, said he was mostly pleased with the shuttle service.
“My overall experience has been a good one, and I think they’ve become much more reliable this year, they are generally on time every cycle through,” Rind said.
Rind added, “The only real problem I’ve experienced is sometimes the drivers won’t update their tracking devices, so I don’t know how far away the bus is.”
“If we notice a problem with the GPS system we address it immediately so that we can get it back up and running in a timely manner so that everyone can continue to track SHUFLY,” Szipszky said.
Junior Pat Daley said he takes the SHUFLY frequently because he lives in Ora Manor, and although he felt the service was good overall, he called the schedule “frustrating.”
“It is difficult to manage the schedule for my Tuesday and Thursday 11:30 class,” Daley said. “The SHUFLY arrives at the front gate at 11:30 which makes me perpetually late for my 11:30 class. There is a driver break right before that one, so my only other option is to arrive on campus more than an hour early.”
Daley added that he worked early mornings of Mondays and Wednesdays, so he would prefer to be able to catch up on sleep on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“I have to decide between sleep and punctuality. If the schedule were simply moved 5 to 10 minutes up, this would not be a problem,” Daley said.
No other students interviewed for this article mentioned the schedule as a problem, however, so it is unclear how many students are adversely affected by the timing of the shuttle’s schedule.
Szipszky recommended that any student, faculty or staff member experiencing problems with SHUFLY should contact her in the Parking Services Office or the Office of Public Safety and Security if the problem occurs after Parking Services has closed.
“The sooner we know about a problem the sooner we can address it,” Szipszky said.
Caitlin Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.