SG surveys Bull Runner experience
Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 00:01
“Are you happy with the current Bull Runner services?”
That is one of several questions asked by Student Government (SG) in a survey they are conducting this week to gauge student opinion about the Bull Runner bus shuttle service.
The survey, which was posted last week on SG’s Facebook and Twitter, has collected about 200 responses from students, Nathan Fox, SG adviser on Bulls community affairs and a senior majoring in political science, said.
“Essentially, I wanted to gauge students’ experience on the Bull Runner to see if there are any concerns or issues they feel strongly about and didn’t know where to go,” he said.
The survey consists of four questions, asking about Bull Runner usage and overall content with Bull Runner services, followed by a comment box.
The Bull Runner offers six routes that operate Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to midnight, Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and two routes that operate Saturday and Sunday from 2:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Though SG doesn’t have control over the Bull Runner, Fox said he has been working with Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) to build a relationship to see if the concerns students have can be addressed.
“The hours, number of buses and the frequency of buses hitting certain stops have been the biggest concerns that have popped up on the survey from students,” Fox said.
But Bull Runner drivers aren’t unfamiliar with students’ gripes with the bus service.
Johnny McCormick, a Bull Runner driver and senior majoring in information technology, said he sees as many as 400 to 500 students ride the bus on his average 7-hour shift.
He said this is usually on the C-route, which stops at many off-campus apartments, and is one of the busiest routes. McCormick said three 70 to 75 passenger shuttles are running on the C-route during all service hours.
But students, he said, often complain about the crowds and getting left behind because of full buses.
One student, he said, had been left behind by the Bull Runner three times because the bus was consistently full to capacity and was late for class. The student got on McCormick’s shuttle and stood behind him as he drove, demanding the location of the PATS office so he could file a complaint to McCormick’s boss.
“Once we got to his stop, I thanked him for riding the Bull Runner and to have a nice day,” McCormick said. “The students on the bus laughed, but the guy flipped me off and walked away.”
Another driver for the Bull Runner, Jada Dixie, a sophomore majoring in business management, said her bus can get “a little hectic” around her busiest times between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m..
“The bus not being on time, or students getting to class late are the biggest complaints I get,” she said.
McCormick said the busiest part of the day is between 8 a.m. and noon, which he calls “crunch time,” especially along the C route which runs along the various student housing apartments along 42nd Street.
“The apartment complexes are so heavily populated, and some buses can only carry 40 people,” McCormick said.
Rita Raffoul, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, said she hasn’t had any problems riding the Bull Runner.
“It’s always on time and I’ve never had a problem with it when I go home from work,” Raffoul said. “It’s also cold inside the bus. I like that.”
Marissa Cunningham, a freshman majoring in accounting, said she likes the other services for the Bull Runner, such as the Bull Tracker, a realtime site which locates each bus and predicts arrival times and can be accessed from computers and smart phones.
“The tracker works,” she said. “I am always tracking my friends’ buses for them on my phone.”
Fox said he hopes to see more participation in the survey.
“If students want to see something done, the more that they provide feedback on the survey, the more I can come to PATS so they can address (each problem) and see what they can do about it,” Fox said. “The last time I met with PATS, they were open ears.”