Anderson, Indiana

New shuttle bus enhances student safety and accessibility

Fri, 2011-03-11 08:05 -- univcomm
March 11, 2011

On a cold winter evening, Anderson University students find refuge in the shuttle bus. A cozy ride back to the dorm is a welcome alternative to the bitter walk across campus. The ride got a little better in October, when a new shuttle bus was purchased for the campus.

shuttle-busThe shuttle service at AU, which takes students all over campus, began in 2005 when Walt Smith, director of police/security services, requested a shuttle system be implemented on campus. Over time, there had been an increase in security escorting students around campus due to various reasons, including weather and safety precautions. “The shuttle is in every parking lot and in front of every residence hall every half hour between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m.,” said Smith.

The old shuttle served 4,896 students in the 2008-2009 academic year and then jumped to 6,273 students in the 2009-2010 academic year.

Junior Sheridan Allen has used the shuttle many times. “I think the shuttle benefits the community by providing a safe method of transportation at night,” said Allen. “I think it is beneficial to have a safe way of travel rather than walking through campus at night.”

After the old shuttle starting breaking down Smith decided that an upgrade was essential.

“We used the old shuttle bus for five years and that was enough time to prove the shuttle program’s success," said Smith.

Smith said that the first shuttle bus was unable to lift a heavy wheelchair into the shuttle, which was unfortunate for some students. “But now we can,” said Smith. “The new shuttle bus is handicap accessible and has two spots for wheelchairs to be safely strapped in.”

In addition to handicap accessibility, the new shuttle also has seatbelts.

“Every Monday at 6:30 p.m. the shuttle takes a trip out to Wal-Mart to give students without vehicles an opportunity to get things they need,” said Smith. “The seatbelts also give us an opportunity to do other things that involve taking students off campus.”

— Kristyn Rhynard is a senior from Ithaca, Mich., majoring in communication arts. Rhynard is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.