September 26, 2018 | ° F

Second hotel shuttle reduces student frustration

Living in a hotel may have its perks such as weekly maid service, a 24-hour fitness center, an indoor pool and a television in each room, all of are which available at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Franklin, N.J.

But some of the remaining 150 students residing there due to a University housing shortage would say the hotel has its drawbacks.

School of Arts and Sciences sophomore Andrew Kendell said in September that having one bus, which arrived on campus or at the hotel every 40 minutes, was the worst part of living at the hotel.

"It's really packed in the morning when you have class and you have to leave pretty early in case you have to wait for another bus," Kendell said. "The worst part is when you're on College Avenue and you don't know when the bus is coming so you just have to kind of stand there for an hour."

Although the bus runs on a continuous loop, seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m., Hotel Housing Director Brett Kociol said it was the most challenging aspect of living there. To aid the problem, Transportation Services added an additional bus that will run on a continuous loop, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., he said.

"[The bus runs] during that sort of peak period," Kociol said. "There's a bus every 20 minutes as opposed to every 40. There hasn't been a single complaint about the bus since it was instituted and most of the people that I talked to feel like that's sufficient."

School of Arts and Sciences sophomore Jack Watkinson said he thinks the second bus has helped students residing at the hotel.

"If you miss one [bus], you're not in as bad a situation as you were before," Watkinson said.

But School of Arts and Sciences sophomore Rachel Adair, who received a permanent housing assignment last week, said she didn't think the second bus with be enough to solve the problem.

"It still kind of sucked because you have to wait 20 minutes for a bus when, if you're going anywhere else on campus, a bus comes every five minutes," Adair said. "In comparison to how it was, it got better but I think we should have three buses because there's a lot of people who live there. You had to plan your day so much in advance."

But to run even one bus between the hotel and the College Avenue campus comes with a price tag.

Vice President of Student Affairs Gregory S. Blimling said in September that having just one bus was a big problem for the University, especially since it's not efficient and so many students were complaining.

"It's costing us, my recollection is, about $68,000 a month to run that bus [and] our solution is to run two buses," he said.

But Blimling said funds are saved for any urgent situations, like a housing shortage.

"We have put revenue aside for emergencies like this so we were not caught by surprise," Blimling said. "We knew from time to time, things like this would happen so we actually have reserve funds set aside to deal with emergencies. It's a large operation so we have to plan ahead."

Caitlin Mahon

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