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Sports buses don’t make the grade
The opening of Quinnipiac University’s TD Banknorth Sports Center has drawn complaints from students about the shuttles they must take to get to the facility.
Because of limited parking at the York Hill campus, students must use the university provided shuttle system to get there. According to Ron Colavolpe, the assistant chief for parking and transportation, the shuttle system consists of nine buses that operate between the old athletic center and the York Hill campus. Each bus can carry 45 people and often makes multiple trips. The number of students who take the shuttle service for any particular game varies widely, Colavolpe said.
“There are usually between 400 and 1,200 students who take the shuttle, but some games get more than others. Men’s hockey is the most popular and we use all of the shuttles for those games,” Colavolpe said. For a game that starts at 7 p.m., the shuttle system begins operation at 5:45 p.m. and ends around 10 p.m. to accommodate for both the traffic and the crowds who do not make the early shuttles, Colavolpe said.
Many students, though, are upset with the shuttle service. Genna Kornweiser, a sophomore public relations major, attended the men’s hockey games against Holy Cross and Harvard in late January.
“At first I was really happy about the abundance of shuttles for opening weekend, but for big games like Harvard, coming back from York Hill was not an easy task,” she said. “I had to stand in the snow for half an hour for a shuttle. When I did get to a shuttle, I was pushed on by the crowd of people.”
Victoria Berger, a sophomore occupational therapy major, shared a similar experience. She said the shuttle service was “.good on the way there, but [I] heard it takes forever to get on a shuttle for the way back, so [I] decided to walk.”
According to Colavolpe, the university is planning to build a pedestrian path up to York Hill to accommodate students who choose to walk there.
Sophomore English major Will Karvouniaris thinks such a path will be obsolete in the winter months. “When it snows, walking is not really an option,” Karvouniaris said.
Colavolpe said he has not heard any student complaints concerning the shuttle system. Upon being told about student concerns, he said this year has been a period of trial and error. The buses have to contend with traffic and winter conditions. The process of having students board the shuttles is orderly, he said.
For the Harvard game, he “had a line from the bus parking area to the end of the athletic center, but it was very orderly.” To work on the parking situation on York Hill, he said the university is planning to build a parking garage to ease the traffic.
Despite the frustrations of some students, most students realize the difficulty associated with bringing upward of one thousand students to the games. Steve Callahan, a sophomore media studies major, said the biggest problem is the layout of the York Hill parking lot.
“The way they built the parking lot, it’s hard enough to get cars through, let alone buses,” Callahan said.
Colavolpe is confident the shuttle system will improve in the coming years. “As [they] go along, [they] learn and more” about how many buses to use for each game, he said.