You look at the clock on the wall, notice class is almost over and decide to check where the next shuttle is to get a ride to your car.
The Long Beach State app shows that the nearest shuttle is only seven percent full and that it’ll be pulling up to the nearest stop right as you get out of class. You breathe a sigh of relief knowing you won’t have to make the half-mile walk to get to your car.
But as the shuttle pulls up, the driver opens the doors to tell everyone it’s full and you’ll have to wait for the next one, sinking your hopes of riding the air-conditioned shuttle to your air-conditioned car.
The LBSU campus shuttle program is a great resource for students to get around the large campus quickly, but given there are over 30,000 students enrolled, there are also quite a few flaws in the system.
The service also offers multiple routes to give riders a chance to go almost anywhere on campus. There are currently five routes the shuttle travel on: West Loop, East Loop, Beachside, Los Coyote for dorm residents and the All Campus Tripper.
Seeing as how LBSU is a 322-acre campus, the route options for riders is highly appreciated and extremely helpful, but with multiple routes also comes the biggest problem: the sheer volume of student riders.
LBSU is a large campus and though many are happy to walk, ride their bikes or skateboard around campus, there is a large group of students who prefer to use the shuttle system. This proves to be problematic for certain heavy-populated routes such as the West Loop.
The spring semester did see a few days where an extra shuttle was added in hopes of alleviating the stress of the drivers and riders, but with only two vehicles driving along any given route a day, there was simply no way a student was guaranteed to catch a ride each time. For those who sat anxiously at a stop in hopes of getting to class on time instead of running across campus, it proved frustrating time and time again.
In addition to the insufficient number of shuttles, there is also the issue of misinformation on the LBSU app regarding how full a shuttle is at any given time. Granted, it can be hard to accurately count how many riders are on your vehicle, but when the app tells students it’s less than half full and they find out there’s no room to even stand, that’s a sign that changes need to be made.
Whether this comes in the form of drivers actually counting every time riders leave/enter or a swipe system on the shuttles to help the app automatically keep track of riders at one time, the full percentage function certainly needs some fine tuning in order to offer better help to faculty and students.
The shuttle system is neither really a hero nor a menace, but moreso an anti-hero. As unlikable and problematic it can be at times for riders, it has a lot of positive qualities you can’t help but love and appreciate for being there.