Shuttle service deserves applause

    On the list of things we take for granted here at UCSD, the shuttle system would probably be near the top. Granted, there’s plenty to bellyache about regarding transportation and parking, especially the latter.

    Yes, the parking is ridiculously expensive, the Cityshuttles are running over capacity and the Capus Loop Shuttles run a little late once in a while. But despite these flaws, the shuttle system remains an admirable and effective attempt at easing the problems of getting to and around school. In fact, ridership has steadily been increasing from year to year.

    According to the UCSD Transportation Web site, all of last year’s shuttles had some 700,000 passengers, with about 3,000 riders a day on the Campus Loop Shuttle and 5,500 a day on Regents. The parking fee and citation revenue-funded shuttle system still offers a needed assistance without costing students a fare. While the transportation at UCSD is by no means ideal, the shuttle system is an extremely valuable and essential service at this school.

    The all-new Cityshuttle may be experiencing growing pains, but it still provides an indispensable service to all UCSD affiliates. Cityshuttle is the spotlight mode of transportation this year. The shuttle, in theory, allows off-campus students to skip the hassle of driving to school. That hassle includes not having to pay some $400 annually to roam around full parking lots and stalk people walking to their cars in search for a sacred “”S”” spot.

    Granted, the new shuttle route has had its share of problems — it frequently runs over capacity, subsequently bypassing stops along the way, and seemingly, even at ten-minute intervals, doesn’t come often enough. Nevertheless, it’s cringe-worthy to envision what the situation would be if Cityshuttles stopped operating.

    Following the limitation of “”S”” spots this year, the alternative of public transportation is more important than ever. Not only does the Cityshuttle transport off-campus residents to their respective apartments and condos, but also allows on-campus kids without cars easy access to Ralphs, movie theatres, the mall and other student-saturated havens.

    Although students often have to get cozy in the standing-room-only shuttles (especially during peak hours in the morning and early evening), it is far more efficient than looking for a spot and paying for the right to do so. Additionally, it reduces pollution and congestion on the streets in and around campus. Of course, it isn’t pleasant waiting in the cold or to have to stand up on the shuttle after a long, hard day, but these kinds of problems are inherent in almost any mass-transportation system.

    This being the inaugural year of the Cityshuttle, glitches and limited capacity is all but expected. As UCSD’s population continues to increase, this quandary will no doubt be brought up as transportation concerns are voiced.

    According to some riders, the overcrowding of the shuttles also has spawned the equally problematic issue of bypassing stops along the way. Due to the sheer number of riders in the vehicle, the shuttle is forced to drive past designated stops, causing unfortunate students to wait for the next one and possibly infringing on tight schedules. The problem is compounded by the fact that the city buses have been known to pass students as well, not realizing that the Cityshuttles behind them are already bursting with students.

    This glitch in planning and communication can be assuaged in due time if more shuttles are added to compensate. The more-established city buses, which are not run by UCSD but are also free of charge with a sticker, can work in tandem with the Cityshuttles to help deal with the overcrowding predicament.

    Though imperfect, the Cityshuttle is a well-intentioned idea with somewhat shakier execution. It deserves accolades for its vision, which finally recognizes the increasing problems of parking, traffic and excessive griping.

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