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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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Students raise concerns over shuttle data collection, time


Cougar Line shuttles around campus require students to swipe their red Cougar Cards upon entry, causing many students to question its effectiveness and efficiency.

Business marketing sophomore Tia Paige has issues with the process.

“I’ve had to wait for the bus for a certain amount of time, and I’m already concerned about being late to class, and then I have to find my card. I think it’s causing a problem, and there has to be a better way to get an idea of how many students ride the shuttle,” Paige said.

“Maybe they could do a survey or something, because this is not working.”

The card readers were installed toward the end of the Spring 2010 semester in an effort to collect data on the number of students using each shuttle.

“Requiring students to swipe their Cougar Cards is a way that we can measure bus ridership,” said assistant vice president for University Services Emily Messa.

“With good data we can improve the Cougar Line routes and number of buses that we need to support the growing campus,” Messa said.

Although collecting data is important for future improvements to the system, students are frustrated by problems caused by the requirement.

“I dislike having to swipe my student ID to get on the campus shuttle,” biology senior CharLissa Foster said. “It is time consuming and such a hassle.”

Foster lives on campus and uses the shuttles daily to get to classes.

“One time, I was at the bus stop for 30 minutes,” Foster said. “I did not have my card, so I could not get on.”

Messa said that students who forget their cards should still be allowed to ride, but urges the importance of carrying their cards.

“We definitely want our students to swipe their Cougar Cards so that their ride will count when we begin reviewing ridership data,” Messa said.

Collecting daily percentages of shuttle riders will also create other transportation opportunities for students, Messa said.

“One great enhancement that we are working on with Metro is a combined Cougar Q Card so that students can have their student-discounted Q Card in a more timely, convenient manner,” Messa said.

Service providers collect data to evaluate their services, and University Services must do the same.

“Whether we use card readers or some other tools — like sales data in our restaurants or customer service survey instruments — it’s important that we have and use tools to measure the performance of our services,” Messa said.

“We will always need some way to track shuttle ridership,” Messa said. “At this point, having card readers on our shuttle buses is the best way.”


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