When the weather gets cold in Oswego and no one feels like getting out of bed to travel to class, much less putting on their heavy-duty boots and wading out into the arctic tundra we call home for almost 10 months out of the year, the overall mood takes a turn for the worse.
Beginning in mid-December and lasting through the end of March, the amount of irritable students that populate bus stops stop caring about basic etiquette, human compassion or anything in general.
Due to the inclement weather, the buses take longer. When buses take longer, hordes of angry students accumulate. Everyone wants to get to class and get through their daily routine, and they will do whatever it takes to get there.
I saw a male student threaten the bus driver after he was denied entrance onto the bus because it was too full. A friend of mine stood outside and waited half-an-hour for a bus in 5-degree temperatures to get to class. A roommate of mine waited for the bus in The Village in order to get to class across campus, which never arrived. He drove to class and then received a ticket from University Police. There are several cardinal rules students need to consider when riding the bus to class.
Students must get to their designated stop either five minutes early or 10 minutes late. It never fails. If you’re running right on time, the bus will pass your stop 30 seconds early and leave you choking in the dust thrown up in its wake. On the other hand, if you get there five minutes early, the bus will get there 10 minutes late, resulting in a 15-minute wait.
The problem, I think, is mainly due to the poor weather conditions. Bus drivers’ number one priority must be the safety of their passengers. If the scheduled times are thrown off during white-out conditions, students need to cut the bus drivers some slack.
If the bus starts to get crowded, move to the back. The bus driver and other passengers should not be the ones to tell you this; it should be common sense. If you notice the front of the bus getting increasingly congested and make everyone’s lives easier, keep moving to the back.
Don’t put your bags on empty seats. Really? You see that there are people standing and you keep your purse propped on the seat next to you? Put your bag on your lap or in between your legs and let someone have a seat. Above all, always remember to thank the bus driver on the way out, whether you like them or not. Even if students abide by these rules, there remain valid problems which need to be addressed.
Student complaints about the buses are falling on deaf ears and it is, quite frankly, unacceptable. Whenever students have an issue with the buses, they are advised to contact Centro, whose customer service is virtually non-existent. In preparation to write this article, I called Oswego Centro for an interview. I was then advised to call Centro in Syracuse, who then told me to call Oswego again. This process continued for an hour before I was finally put into contact with the right person. Upon calling this number, which I believed could answer all of my questions, I was greeted by their voicemail.
The Blue Route has one bus, which runs Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. and a second bus that runs from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. For the first time in Oswego history, students had to pay a $25 transportation fee in addition to regular tuition, which includes Zipcar and the Blue and Green Route bus services. The problem lies in the lack of buses for students during winter months. Too many students need to take the bus and there is not enough room for them all. This has been a problem for years, but now, especially after students are charged an extra $50 a year for transportation alone, it is time to fix this dilemma.
A simple, yet moderately cost-effective solution is to have the second bus run, no matter what, for 45 days of the worst winter days, starting in December and ending in mid-March for six hours instead of two. I did the math and it would cost around $20, 250 dollars to have a second Blue Route bus run for 45 of the harshest winter days for six hours, as opposed to a second bus run for 86 days a semester for two hours, five days a week. It would be a $7,350 difference, but I really think this would solve a lot of problems students have had. Why has this problem been placed on the backburner? Money.
The Marano family generously donated $7.5 million to Oswego State, among other endowments, which were utilized for various scholarships and projects. Among all of the donations Oswego accumulates every year, can’t the University consider using $8,000 of those donations to try this solution?
This spring, Michael Flaherty in Auxiliary Services plans to work in conjunction with Student Association President Tucker Sholtes as well as other students to find a solution to this problem. Hopefully, by fall 2015 Oswego State will designate a long overdue solution for this problem.