Midway through this semester, students riding SF State shuttles are experiencing longer wait times on campus than in the past, even with the new Gator Pass provided earlier this semester.
Students can usually wait anywhere between five to 15 minutes for a shuttle, but lately have been waiting up to 30 minutes.
SF State business major, Sim Kim, said the biggest problem with the SF State shuttles is that they are too inconsistent.
“It’s not like an actual bus that runs about every 15 minutes,” Kim said. “I know dispatch tries to eyeball arrival and departure times, but usually they are way off. I mean, since I’ve been here, they get that s–t wrong all the time.”
Currently, Manaois said, SF State Parking and Transportation has a contract agreement in place with Transmetro that includes a lease of more shuttle buses and drivers. Manaois said shuttle bus drivers are not directly employed under Parking and Transportation and SF State owns three single door, Ford model shuttles.
“At present, there are no plans to expand our shuttle buses’ times of operations. However, Parking and Transportation continues to track and evaluate shuttle needs, usages and costs,” Manaois said. “We continue to work in collaboration with various campus partners as well as the city of San Francisco to ensure we provide the best service possible.”
SF State has a commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and practicing community partnership by supporting the reduction of traffic congestion and the number of students and staff who drive to campus according to the University’s Parking and Transportation webpage.
“Each shuttle bus can accommodate up to 28 passengers,” Manaois said. “For shuttle buses that are currently leased through Transmetro, there is a total of five double door shuttles that use CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), which can accommodate passengers up to 65.”
Manaois said the SF State shuttle program is an initiative implemented for the campus community to show the commitment and support of the University’s sustainability efforts.
While many students are at a crossroads with shuttles, Kim said he agrees with the environmentalist perspective of Parking and Transportation operations. Kim said students who commute long distances like himself hate the long lines they encounter while trying to catch a shuttle or bus.
Kim said this is his 12th semester at SF State, and that after six years of commuting from Dublin, he’s sick and tired of waiting up to 30 minutes for a shuttle.
“I’ll be here waiting for one ride at the shuttle stop and then all of a sudden two, even three, shuttles show up to pick-up students. Then I feel the drivers are pressured into taking some students and not all because there is another shuttle behind them so they leave without filling them up,” Kim said.
Kim said he believes the Gator Pass is a great idea this semester because it gives students more options to commute to and from campus. But, in the end, he said he shouldn’t complain about the shuttles because they are free.
Susie Silva, who is undecided in her major at SF State, said after two years away from campus, she doesn’t see a difference in the overall shuttle experience.
“[There’s] a lot of students here on campus so I think it’s reasonable if we’re waiting such a long time for one shuttle to show up,” Silva said. “I really don’t mind it because I only come here two days out of the week, so it’s different for everyone.”
Silva said she does not plan on using her Gator Pass this semester because she is satisfied with the public transportation SF State has to offer.
“Maybe if they changed up the routes and meeting points things would change,” Silva said. “For example, the shorter shuttle that says ‘loop’ on it, I really never knew where the loop begins or ends when the shuttles drive mainly through Winston Street to and from campus.”