Shuttle hours reduced due to budget cuts
Students will have less service hours for transportation across Southeast Missouri State University's campus this year.
According to the Director of Public Safety and Transport Doug Richards, there will be no shuttle transportation at Southeast after 5 p.m. except for the Perimeter South Green and one of the River Campus Blue routes, and the reduction in the frequency was made due to budget cuts.
"We have reduced our service, and [it] is based totally only on financial founding," Richards said.
The two routes that used to run past 5 p.m. have reduced their schedule to the following hours:
The Perimeter North Red route runs Monday through Friday at 7:20 a.m., and ends at 4 p.m., when in spring 2012 it used to stop at 9p.m.
The Orange route runs Monday through Friday from 7:25 a.m. to 2 p.m., instead of running until 8 p.m. as it used to.
The Silver route, which used to run until 3 p.m., now runs Monday through Friday from 7:25 a.m. to 1 p.m.
According to Beth Glaus, the parking services manager for the Public Safety and Transit, the Purple route will not change schedules and there will not be a Gold route running anymore since it was a duplicate of the Red route.
The Purple route runs Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
The cut in driving hours will have consequences in the salary earning for the drivers.
Southeast student Brett Mello said he was supposed to be hired as a shuttle driver this semester. He said that he will have to wait until next semester because some senior drivers will graduate and there will be space for hiring new drivers within the budget.
"Budget cuts are the bad guy," Mello said. "Find where the money is now rather than hiring new drivers."
According to Kathy Mangels, vice president of Finance and Administration, there weren't any new drivers hired this fall. She said that if someone is interested in being a shuttle bus driver they can take their application and keep it on file in case a driver gets sick, graduates or stops being a Southeast student.
According to Glaus, during the academic year of 2011-2012, Public Safety and Transit- Parking Services employed 42 transit drivers, 30 of which were student employees. They also have 12 non-student drivers.
"This academic year, we employed 36 drivers, of which 27 are student drivers and 9 are term. The three who left us at the end of the semester left for other jobs. And left before the cuts were made," Glaus said.
Mangels said that Transits and Auxiliary have to bring their own funding to cover their costs.
Southeast receives a grant to help fund the shuttle route, but as gas prices and ridership increased, the amount of funding allotted to the shuttle service has declined, and the only other funding to support the shuttle route is revenue from parking services.
"As we increased the number of routes and drivers and gas, there has been no increase in revenue to help with those costs," Mangels said.
She said they have gone to several groups to discuss what has been happening including Student Government, who still provides them with funding, and Residence Hall Association who wishes their students living on campus to have a safe means of transport until 2 a.m.
"We worked with Student Government to ask if there's a possibility in re-allocating funding and not increase the fees, and the Residence Hall Association provided some minimal funding to keep the route that goes until 2 a.m., to still go to 2 a.m.," Mangels said.
The team including Richards, Mangels and Glaus are looking to work
with the university marketing to potentially get advertisements from local merchants
to allocate in the shuttles and be paid by local merchants to obtain revenue.
"The shuttle service is very important to the campus and that's why we are trying to figure out new sources to sustain it," Mangels said. "We have been able to provide it without any fee attached." The team said they know how important it is and that they will continue to work with other organizations to come up with ideas to generate revenues and maintain service to our campus community.
Green route runs Monday through Friday from 7:20 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.
The Green route goes through the Towers complex, 505 Washington apartments, Grauel, Student Recreation Center-South, Vandiver and Merick residence halls, University Center, Myers Hall, Dearmont Hall, Grauel Building, the rear of Academic Hall, memorial and Cheney Hall, Parker and Scully Buildings, Dempster Hall, Polytechnic Building, Multi-Modal Transfer Facility and DPS on demand.
There are two River Campus blue routes. One will remain unchanged, running Monday through Friday 7:00 a.m. to midnight, and Saturday and Sunday 1:00 p.m. to midnight. The other River Campus route which used to run until 4.45 p.m., will now cease at 2.45 p.m.
River blue route goes through MMTF, DPS, Towers, Memorial Hall, rear of Academic Hall, Grauel, Broadway and Ellis Street, Spanish and Themis streets, the River Campus, Sprigg and William streets, Ellis and Themis streets and Grauel .
W.I.N.G.S. shuttle service will remain with the same schedule starting at 4:30 p.m. on Fridays and stopping Sunday at 6 p.m. W.I.N.G.S is a free service for students who want to go to the shopping mall, do groceries or go out and need transport running outside Southeast premises.
Students can use the W.I.N.G.S. shuttle service to go to the shopping mall on Friday from 4:30-9 p.m., Saturdays from noon-9 p.m., and Sundays from noon-6 p.m.
W.I.N.G.S. shuttle goes through downtown on Fridays from 9:30 p.m. through 2 a.m., and Saturdays from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.