SHUFLY introduces new schedule, students still adjusting
The SHUFLY, the shuttle service transporting the Seton Hall community around South Orange, welcomed changes to its schedule for the new academic year and is already experiencing problems—leaving many students who depend on the shuttle frustrated.
According to Parking Services Manager Ann Szipszky, “The SHUFLY schedule has been altered due to increased demand.”
As of this semester, the shuttle begins its weekday route picking students up at 6 a.m. rather than 7:30 a.m. on Monday through Friday to accommodate students who need to catch an early train. Saturday service now starts at noon instead of 1 p.m., and 11:30 a.m. on Sundays instead of 12:30 p.m.
“On Sundays, we will have two shuttles running until 8 p.m.” said Szipszky, “whereas in the past, service on Sundays was reduced to one shuttle after 6 p.m.”
Joining the student transportation service SafeRide, the SHUFLY now does late-night runs until 3 a.m. all week long.
Additionally, two new stops have been added at the McNulty Gate and at the corner of Valley Street and Village Plaza.
“Students always got off at these new stops but were never allowed to board at these locations,” Szipszky added. “Feedback from students, as well as from our drivers, were important factors in the decision to add these two new locations. This will hopefully make riding the SHUFLY more customer friendly as we go where you need to go.”
The SHUFLY has not entirely adjusted to the new schedules and stops, leaving many students unsatisfied with the services so far this semester including, senior Samantha Cutrone.
“As a senior I’ve been using the SHUFLY for three years now. It’s my only mode of transportation around South Orange that I can count on,” said Cutrone. “It’s always been a little unreliable with keeping with schedule, but [only] by a couple of minutes.” Still, Cutrone added, “This year is ridiculous,” in terms of how long she is forced to wait for a shuttle.
Cutrone believes that the main source of confusion may be the SHUFLY drivers’ difficulty adjusting to and frustration with the new schedule.
After a conversation with a new driver, who told her he was not given a schedule and did not know how to access one online, Cutrone would suggest that SHUFLY drivers should be given hard copies of the updated schedule or a tablet that has the schedules easily accessible.
“All I know is that I’m not the only one experiencing issues,” she said. “My friends can all recall a time they missed a train, were late to class or were even just stranded in the dark until someone came.”
Jack Pitts, a sophomore, also encountered an issue on a recent SHUFLY ride.
“The driver got lost on the way to Target and had to ask the students how to get (there),” he said. Pitts noted that the shuttle driver was trying his best however, and that the fault may lie on the administration instead of the driver.
According to Ann Szipszky, there are several factors that can have an effect on how punctual a SHUFLY shuttle is including new drivers, schedule changes, added stops and local traffic and construction around South Orange.
“For this reason,” said Szipszky, “Download the SHUmobile app on your smartphone, as [it] can track a SHUFLY and see exactly where the shuttle is at any time.” Hopefully, with time, the SHUFLY shuttles will run as smoothly as they used to.”