For about 30 minutes, Erin Doran with 30 other students said she waited for a Bull Runner to take them to the first USF football home game of the season.
The bus never came.
Doran, a senior majoring in biology, said she waited from about 5 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. for a Bull Runner bus to take her to the game through the Student Government (SG) Bulls Blitz program – which picks students up from the Marshall Student Center (MSC) and transports them to home games at Raymond James Stadium.
“There were two shuttle bus times. One was at 3 p.m. and the other was at 5 p.m., but I showed up for the 5 p.m. and no buses showed up,” she said. “I ended up not going to the game.”
Instead of watching the game against Ball State University from the student section at Raymond James Stadium, Doran said she kept track of the score on the ESPN website.
At 10:57 a.m. Saturday, the “Usf Sg” Facebook user page, updated students with: “Come to Bulls Blitz at the MSC bus loop for free food, music and a ride to the game on the Bull Runner! Busses leave at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.”
The “USF Student Government” Facebook page gave conflicting times, stating in a 2:46 p.m. post that buses would begin loading at 3 p.m. and the last bus would leave at 4:45 p.m. and in a 3:12 p.m. post that buses would not leave until 4 p.m.
Director of SG Student Life and Traditions Sarah Rasheid said it was probably an error on SG’s part for the different posts.
She said the 14th bus, which was the last shuttle bus, left at roughly 4:50 p.m. because there were no seats additional available. Bull Runners hold about 35 to 45 passengers, she said.
“We are going to take that into account to add more buses to this program,” she said. “We’re really happy for people who got to the game, but at the same time we are apologetic for those who couldn’t make it.”
Rasheid said 12 buses transported about 606 riders to the first football home game last season. Even though 14 buses left for the stadium this year, 150 to 200 students did not get to participate in the program, she said.
“We’re definitely going to talk about increasing the buses for the next home game,” she said. “We’re going to … gauge (interest) based on surveys and other ways of maybe structuring or requesting tickets, where students can request tickets to ride the bus. So we are going to look at other options so we don’t ever have to leave students behind.”
Student body president Matt Diaz said projections for this year’s buses were based on last year’s total participants.
“It was a hiccup that we had to learn from,” he said. “There are so many elements that came to it, like the monetary issues. At this point, I couldn’t give a confirmed answer on how to budget or if our budget allows (more buses).”
Doran said students should have been updated immediately of the inconvenience.
“I just think they should have updated students because a lot of people still showed up – using Facebook or Twitter or putting up a sign at the (MSC) so people can find a way to the game instead of standing and waiting,” she said.
Even though she was left behind for the first home football game, Doran said she will try using the bus service again.
“It’s convenient because you don’t have to pay for parking and it’s a safety issue with me,” she said. “I don’t want to go through Tampa at 10 at night.”
Both USF SG Facebook pages have been updated with a status apologizing to students who were unable to use the bus service.
“Unfortunately, while all 14 busses (two more than last year) left at max capacity, more students came than were anticipated,” the post stated. “We are very sorry and hope everyone made it to the game. We will expect higher turnout for next week’s game against FAMU so please don’t be discouraged!”