Making students feel safe on their way between home and campus has always been a priority for Public Safety, especially late at night when crimes are more likely to occur.
One feature of Public Safety’s efforts to keep students safe is their shuttle that runs at night, picking up students from locations near campus and driving them home to either their dorm or apartment near campus. This provides students with a ride home at night, which is safer than walking or taking the bus.
Due to popular demand by students, as gauged by surveys conducted by ASUSF Senate last spring, Public Safety has decided to extend the hours of the shuttle to 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, while their services stop at 1 a.m. on the other days. The extra two hours on weekend nights will make the shuttle available to students later at night to ensure their safety on their way home.
The Foghorn understands that USF has had to make many budget cuts in order to adjust to the current economic climate. Despite the state of the economy it is good to see that students’ safety was seen as a priority and was not negatively affected. Student safety measures were not only maintained, but they were actually increased. This shows that the University is keeping its promise to students that their experience at USF will not be negatively impacted by budget cuts.
In previous years, Public Safety never had the budget to extend the hours that the shuttle ran, but student concerns about safety made them prioritize this initiative.
These new hours are currently on a trial period for the 2009 fall semester. Public Safety is observing how much of a demand students have for the new hours and if they are being utilized. If the extension is seen to be unnecessary, the shuttle’s hours will go back to ending at 1 a.m. However, the response from students who took ASUSF’s survey last semester showed the majority of students want the hours of the shuttle to be extended, indicating that the new hours are probably here to stay.
The Foghorn appreciates another new amendment to the shuttle services. In the past, the shuttle was not available to students who were noticeably under the influence of alcohol. Inebriated students would be denied a ride, leaving them to find an alternative way home. The new policy stipulates that Public Safety will not turn any student away. This is a positive development for student safety. Student drinking is a reality, and intoxicated students are at significantly higher risk of not getting home safely. With the shuttle they will have a guaranteed sober driver and will get home safely.
There are still some imperfections in the safety shuttle system. Sometimes students cannot get in contact with someone at the shuttle’s services. Also, students might be told to call back in 15 minutes because there is a back up of pick-ups, and if a student with a disability calls, he or she gets priority over other students. There is only one shuttle on patrol, making it hard for the drivers to get to everyone if there are more than one to three calls in a certain period of time. This is expected with a service like this, and the Foghorn believes that these imperfections do not negate the overall positive service that the shuttle offers.
With the approval of the new hours, students can feel safer, and it is good to see that safety holds such importance with Public Safety and ASUSF. Hopefully students will take advantage of the shuttle’s new hours when they are trying to get home at night.