This semester the Seton Hall shuttle service, SHUFLY, has been facing overcrowding. Students have been both unable to ride the SHUFLY due to the buses being over capacity and been made to get off the shuttle in order to avoid overcrowding.
One such student is senior Jessica Noto. This past weekend, Noto tried to take the last SHUFLY back to campus from the Livingston Mall. She said there were five students on the SHUFLY over maximum capacity. According to Noto, she and four other students got off of the bus and waited for the CASE van for approximately 45 minutes after the mall was closed.
“The driver indicated to the students on the bus that he would be personally charged somewhere between 2000 and 5000 dollars if he was caught with a bus that was overcrowded,” Noto said.
She said the driver would not move the bus until it was within capacity.
Ann Szipszky, parking services manager, says that she just learned of the overcrowding on Wednesday, Sept. 15, and the University immediately began to work to address the situation.
“It is the position of both the University as well as Airbrook that capacity on the shuttle should never exceed that which is allowed by law,” she said.
“I am aware of the situation, as is [Vice President for Student Affairs] Dr. Laura Wankel, and we are working to develop a solution,” assistant vice president of the Department of Public Safety Patrick Linfante said.
Both Linfante and Szipszky have been in contact with Airbrook Limousine, the company contracted to run SHUFLY.
SHUFLY runs seven days a week on varying schedules according to what the University deems necessary. During the week it makes half hour loops though the early morning schedule and fifteen minute loops in the afternoons. It makes runs on the weekend to Target and the Livingston Mall which necessitates a one hour loop.
The University and Airbrook are working together to find out when the overcrowding is most prevalent so solutions can be developed.
“I have often rode public transportation that has been standing room only and I do not understand how or why our shuttle is different,” said Noto. “I would feel safer if everyone had a seat, but I do not understand why we are not allowed to stand so long as it is behind the white line.”
Noto gave a solution to the growing problem.
“I think that SHU should either get another bus to alleviate overcrowding or they should get a larger bus that can service more than 21 students at a time.”
Szipsky said that the main reason for overcrowding is the large number of students in the current freshman class.
“Last year SHUFLY provided 37,200 individual rides which average out to approximately 1,163 riders per week. This number appears to be growing and apparently crowding is now becoming a problem. It appears from the information we have received that the overcrowding is occurring on the weekends,” Szipszky said. “Since its inception in fall semester 2005 SHUFLY has seen tremendous growth in the number of riders.”
Alyana Alfaro can be reached at email@example.com.