Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) has purchased two new Bull Runner buses in order to replace some of the program’s existing vehicles.
Marie Bowen, assistant director of Parking & Transportation Services, said the decision to purchase two new buses came as a result of analyzing old equipment that needed to be replaced, such as brakes and lights that were no longer acceptable.
“One of the things that we annually do is an analysis of our buses,” Bowen said. “The Federal Department of Transportation has some regulations as to the age, length and mileage lifespan. This is done in order to make sure we are getting the best efficiency out of our buses.”
A large amount of inspection is done to ensure the safety of the bus and its ability to securely move students, Bowen said. Every USF Bull Runner bus, new or old, goes through a safety analysis to check the brakes, wheel and other components. The main difference between the old and new bus is comfort, according to Bowen, due to smoother rides and more modern features.
“Every bus that is on the road is safe,” Bowen said. “The key difference between a newer bus and an older one are some of the features are a lot nicer. For the person sitting in the newer bus, it may be a smoother ride. One is not any safer than the other, however, the newer bus is probably just a more comfortable experience.”
The two new vehicles are becoming “USF ready,” according to Bowen. This finalization involves adding the outside graphics, as well as making sure all GPS and radio services are working properly for the bus drivers. Once the transformation is completed, the new additions to the fleet are expected to debut sometime this month.
Little is expected to change in terms of route or speed of pickups, according to Bowen.
“The speed on campus is the speed on campus,” Bowens said. “The good thing about getting new buses is they are able to stop and start at a better rate than they were before, which really helps a lot in terms of efficiency.”
Even though there will be no route changes, Bowen says picking students up in an efficient manner remains largely important.
“The main thing we do is make sure that we try to adhere to a 20-minute wait,” Bowen says. “What that basically means is that at any peak time during the campus, if you miss one bus, you shouldn’t wait any longer than 20 minutes for another. Some people think that if they miss a bus another will come right away, and that’s just not realistic.”
PATS encourages student feedback regarding the new buses, Bowen says. As replacing equipment is an ongoing process, student important remains crucial.
“We’re very open to any feedback that people have about our services,” Bowen says. “We welcome student conversation and student interaction. Not only do we transport students around campus, but a big part of the student success is making sure they are heard and they are safe”