Bull Runner ID checks ‘hit or miss’

By Roberto Roldan, NEWS EDITOR
On October 16, 2013

When officers from University Police arrived on scene of a traffic crash involving a BullRunner shuttle Oct. 6 they documented the crash, spoke to the injured and handed out citations.

One thing officers likely didn’t expect was that one of the passengers would have to be taken away in cuffs.

UP Public Information Officer Lt. Charlotte Domingo said 20-year-old Chauncey Irvin Jr. was taken to Hillsborough County Jail after officers found Irvin had an outstanding warrant for Failure to Appear for Cannabis Possession.

Irivin, a non-USF student, was riding the shuttle intended for the USF community without a USF ID, leading some, such as Maxise Hilaire, a freshman majoring in health sciences, to question the safety of the BullRunner.

Rick Fallin, director of BullRunner services, declined to comment unless the interview was conducted via email, but said official policies for the bus system could be found in the Transportation Guidelines for Safety and Information.

According to the guidelines, “You (students, faculty and staff) are required to have your ID to use the Bull Runner at all times. Visitors must be accompanied by a USF student or staff member to board the bus or have a daily visitor bus pass.”

Students who said they frequently use the shuttle system, however, said they don’t see a consistent system of ID checks.

“Usually if my ID is out of reach, I don’t bother with getting it out and showing it to the driver, but with people from outside USF getting arrested on the bus it kind of puts the importance of it into context,” Hilaire said.

Graduate student Balu Patwari said he rides the bus almost daily and his ID is “not checked very frequently.”

“They are probably tired and they just assume the person is probably a USF student and let them on,” Patwari said.

The instruction given to drivers of the BullRunner are also not the same policies expressed in the transportation guidelines, according to interviews with multiple BullRunner drivers.

Emily Ballance, a junior majoring in elementary education, has been driving for the BullRunner service since April. She said BullRunner drivers are told they can’t deny service just because someone does not have a USF ID card.

“If drivers feel they are in danger or we know for a fact they aren’t a USF student, then we can ask someone to get off the bus, but for the most part we can’t actually kick people off,” she said.

For that reason, Ballance said some drivers don’t bother checking IDs unless they have a strong suspicion that a person isn’t a student.

“You are supposed to ask for an ID, but it really varies,” she said. “Some drivers are really adamant about it and some don’t bother with unless there’s a reason to.”

If there is someone who is consistently riding the bus without being able to present a USF ID, Ballance said drivers are supposed to report the person to a manager.

 

If the manager finds the punishment warranted, they can ban a rider from using the service.

“I ride the bus everyday to get to classes and they don’t usually check my ID when I get on.” Elizabeth Schaffer, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering, said. “It’s pretty hit or miss.”

Schaffer said she think’s bus drivers should have to ID everyone who gets on the bus and make sure only USF students are on it.

“I don’t think it’s much of a hassle,” she said. “It could go a long way in keeping students safe and keeping people who shouldn’t be on the bus off it.”

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