Tag Archives: hours

Night Shuttle Service Extended, Some Delays Expected

Although the Night Shuttle hours have been extended Thursday through Sunday, some delays are to be expected due to limited vehicles. However, Public Safety offers an escort at all hours if a student feels unsafe or needs assistance.  Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Although the Night Shuttle hours have been extended Thursday through Sunday, some delays are to be expected due to limited vehicles. However, Public Safety offers an escort at all hours if a student feels unsafe or needs assistance. Photo by Melissa Stihl/Foghorn

Public Safety’s night safety shuttle has extended its hours to 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday as of Sept. 1, which has been a collaborative effort between the Department of Public Safety and ASUSF Senate since last semester to increase weekend night services by two hours.

The night safety shuttle, which provides students transportation to and from on-campus and off-campus residences, still runs from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday through Wednesday, but Thursday through Saturday, last drop-offs are now made at 3 a.m. ASUSF approved the extended hours in April of 2009, with the exception that ASUSF provided funds for the extra hours served since Public Safety did not have sufficient funds to do it on their own in the past.

Now, students have until 2:30 a.m. to request the night shuttle service for pick-up or drop-off, which is the cutoff for the days ending at 3 a.m. For days ending at 1 a.m., students have until 12:30 a.m.

“I think extending the hours will make our campus safer as long as students are aware of it and utilize it,” said junior Kendra Brazile. “When I used to use it, they stopped at 1 or 12, so if I wanted to get back to main campus, say from Lomo [Lone Mountain] or LV [Loyola Village], after those hours I would have to call public safety or walk, and I would usually end up walking.”

Although the new hours will be implemented throughout the entire school year, ASUSF is using the fall semester as a trial basis to test out the new hours. At the end of the semester, ASUSF will evaluate whether the hours have been adequately used to establish if the hours are worth keeping, said Nicole Beamer, operations manager in the Department of Public Safety.

Beamer said there has always been a need for longer hours, but with the funded resources now available by ASUSF, their partnership has made those hours possible.

“ASUSF made it a hot topic,” Beamer said, when former ASUSF president Alex Platt brought up the need for extended hours to Senate and the Department of Public Safety during the 2009 Spring semester. According to the April 21 ASUSF meeting, the idea to increase the service by only two hours on weekends was most “practical” and “effective,” based on the 110 survey responses that ASUSF received from students, in which most requested extended hours on weekends.

ASUSF estimated they would fund $22,000, which is a surplus in their budget, accounting for $17,164 in hourly compensation for drivers and the remaining sum for fuel. Although hourly compensation and fuel costs $29 an hour, drivers are paid $9 in overtime for the additional two hours served on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

But ASUSF had reservations about funding the extra hours because there were concerns of students under the influence using the shuttle. Prior to the changes, those students were not granted shuttle privileges, but now, Public Safety has made an exception. Intoxicated students are driven to their desired locations under the circumstance that drivers must call Public Safety. “We’re not going to deny students,” said Daniel L. Lawson, executive director of Public Safety. It is a relaxed policy, but proper university actions will be taken, he said. “It is a balance of safety and patience.”

Lawson said their only challenge is the availability of the shuttle. “Adding hours, there’s still a problem because of need and calls for service. We can estimate the calls, but if we get more than one to three calls at a time, people are told to please call back in 15 minutes,” he said, which delays all requests for the limited one shuttle van circulating the area. Lawson said any student could hit a bad timing in which the dispatch receives multiple calls, and delays are created not because of trying to be lax in their service, but because they are currently working on dropping other students off.

Other delays may be the result of priority given to students with disability, who make up an estimated 10 percent of the calls received. If three students are placed on a waiting list, and the fourth caller is a student with disabilities, the disabled student automatically moves up to first on the waiting list, Beamer said. Public Safety has an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) shuttle that operates in the daytime, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday, which only provides transportation to students with disabilities.

The day shuttle is a matter of convenience, Beamer said, but the night shuttle is a combination of convenience and safety.

“It’s a good thing, especially for those students that live off campus,” said junior Alexandra Garcia. “But I think that if it’s not publicized, students will not even know about the extended hours.”

The shuttle will keep the same 6-block radius that limits drops-offs and pick-ups beyond the boundaries of California Street, Divisadero Street, Fell St. and Sixth Avenue. Beamer said the limitations are for insurance purposes.  Only two vehicles rotate shifts, one in the day and the other at night.

But Lawson said that just because the shuttle service ends at 3 a.m., it “doesn’t suggest that we don’t provide a safety escort.” During the hours that the shuttle is not in service, students can call Public Safety for a safety escort. A minimum of two officers and two cars are working at all hours of the day, but Lawson said if they get busy, delays will occur, particularly in emergency situations in which a student has to be taken to the hospital, for example. “Those are our weaknesses,” Lawson said.

Crossroads New Later Hours Popular, Unruly

Strictly by the numbers, Crossroads’ new extended hours on Thursday and Friday nights until 2:30 a.m. have been incredibly successful. The new hours are wildly popular with students, and the late night shift is the third busiest time of day at the café, after the lunch and dinner rushes, said Crossroads General Manager and senior Hailey Anderson. And it has also been profitable for Bon Appétit.

On its first evening of extended hours, Crossroads processed 250 transactions and half of the seats in the café were occupied at any given time, Anderson said.

However, many of the students who patronize Crossroads during the extended hours are less than perfect customers and many are intoxicated, she said. Anderson has witnessed many more students than usual trying to steal pizza, which is the only station open late at night, leaving excessive amounts of trash at their tables and refusing to leave when the café closes. Students have also been fighting in the café and vandalizing artwork in the hallway outside when they do leave.

Anderson said that since the café began operating on the new trial schedule the Thursday following spring break, there have been multiple occasions when groups of intoxicated students have ignored staff who asked them to leave. At least one group demanded 20 more minutes when told to leave because the café was closing.

The final version of the ASUSF Senate resolution that created the extended hours at Crossroads required that public safety make rounds through the café once every hour and at the 2:30 a.m. closing time. However, public safety has been “very inconsistent” and did not do any rounds through the café on at least two of the nights with extended hours, according to Anderson.

Despite a huge uptick in business and the profitability of the trial, Anderson has questioned the practicality of the new hours, mostly in light of student behavior at the café and safety concerns for her staff. At one point earlier this week she thought her superiors at Bon Appétit might be ready to call off the new hours, but have so far decided to continue with the trial.

“I understand students want a place to go late at night to get food but I don’t want my employees to have to serve drunk and rowdy USF students,” she said.

Safety for workers in the café was a major concern of Crossroads management as they worked with senate on a plan to offer the extended hours. Sophomore Class Representatives Lansen Leu and Patrick Sudlow, who introduced the resolution, worked closely with Anderson and Bon Appétit General Manager Holly Winslow to ensure that Crossroads workers had a way to get home safely and installed swipe access outside of the Parina Lounge handicapped door so that all students could get into the café during its extended hours when all of the other outer doors to the University Center are locked.

Despite issues with safety and student conduct during the late night hours, the new schedule has received positive feedback from students, particularly those who live on campus and have Flexi.

Freshman Mike Needham, who said he usually gets hungry after 11:30 p.m. when Crossroads would normally close, has been to the café several times since it started offering extended hours of service. “Friday night is when I would usually go to Mel’s or order food and it is nice to be able to charge food on my Flexi instead,” he said.

Leu is happy that he was able to work to fill what he saw as a serious void on the USF campus by offering late night dining. “We just wanted to fill that demand from students who can use their Flexi to pay for food,” he said. However, he is concerned that some intoxicated students may be ruining the experience for others. “If people want it they should be respectful of the space,” he said.

Whatever the outcome of the trial period, Anderson said she doubts the extended hours will continue next year because Bon Appétit plans to convert Jamba Juice into a 24-hour café where students can get a wide variety of food.

Crossroads’ extended hours trial period is set to end the week before final exams start.