By Mimmi Montgomery
Assistant News Editor
After years of complaints from on-campus residents and commuters, the Student Government Association (SGA) of LIU Post decided it was time to update the school’s shuttle bus service. Now the shuttles between Post and Hicksville, and between Post and Wheatley Plaza, have new routes and hours.
As The Pioneer reported in the Opinions section in its Oct. 9, 2013 issue, Post students have repeatedly requested shuttle bus changes to accommodate their schedules. Between 1,000 and 1,200 Post students use one of the university’s shuttle buses every week and commuters highly depend on the service, mainly to transport themselves between school and Hicksville train station, according to Dan Potenzieri, SGA president.
However, previous routes and schedules caused many students to miss train connections and to be left behind, due to a limited number of seats and too many students during the peak early morning and afternoon hours.
“Many comments and concerns about the shuttle bus route and schedule reached SGA in the past year, so we felt the need to make a detailed review of the shuttle buses’ stops and usage,” said Potenzieri.
“The new schedules for the off-campus shuttles look very different compared to the old ones,” Potenzieri said. “Regarding the bus that runs between Post and Hicksville train station, we changed the hours and were able to fit in two more runs on weekdays by eliminating the stop outside Waldbaums in Hicksville. This allows the shuttle to better service students during peak times,” Potenzieri added.
“Regarding the shuttle between Post and the Pathmark at Wheatley Plaza in Greenvale, the amount of runs have been shortened but we have included more stops. The shuttle now drives across the street from Pathmark to Moe’s and Wendy’s to provide service to more locations for students.”
Petter Holmsen, senior Film major, used to drive to school, but moved in the beginning of the semester and now commutes from Hicksville to Post by shuttle bus. He understands why the Waldbaums stop was removed. “In my opinion, stopping outside Waldbaums was like a joke. No one ever got off or on there,” he said.
Julia Rosen, senior Psychology major, agrees. “It was an unnecessary stop because there is not much reason to get off there. If students want to go food shopping, they would probably use the Pathmark bus instead,” she said.
Students also appreciate that the new changes include more runs and extended hours. “With the updated schedule, one can take the bus and arrive just in time for the 9:30 a.m. class. Earlier, we got to campus more than half-an-hour before our classes started because that was the only option,” Rosen continued.
“It is also great that they have extended the hours so that one can stay on campus until late. Earlier, the last shuttle left campus at 8 p.m. while many students got out of class at 8:25 p.m.,” she added.
Abby Van Vlerah, Post’s new dean of students, was involved in the process of changing the schedules, and explains that it was necessary to increase the runs during both mornings and late evenings. “Student Life worked closely with the SGA to meet the needs of the larger student body: commuters, residents and grad students,” said Van Vlerah.
“For example, we increased night time shuttle to Hicksville train station to accommodate those who end class at 9 p.m.,” she added.
For years, off-campus students who have ended evening classes later than 8 p.m. have been forced to find alternative ways of transporting themselves home. It has been difficult to prioritize the shuttles due to competing issues that also required funds and attention, according to Potenzieri.
“Currently, the cost of the school’s public transportation options comes from the Student Activities Fund. This is also where club budgets, the Spring Fling concert, Welcoming Week, Homecoming and other student life events are funded through,” Potenzieri said.
Holmsen understands that the prioritization is complex and is glad that the changes finally happened. “It was about time,” he said.
However, “Even though I like the update, I wonder why on earth this occurred in the middle of the semester? No one told me about a new schedule, so I found out the hard way; with wet hair, dressed in a thin cotton jacket on a particularly cold November morning. I got to the bus stop, unaware of the changes, and had to wait out in the cold for more than 30 minutes, which was not fun at all,” Holmsen added.
Potenzieri explained that the SGA is trying their best to inform students. “The new schedule has been posted on Post’s website under Student Services and new paper schedules were handed out to the bus drivers so that they could give them to students,” he said.
Potenzieri encourages students to reach out to SGA with comments about the updates. “You are more than welcome to communicate how you feel about campus’ transportation options during SGA’s general meetings at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday at the Top of Commons in Hillwood. An even more efficient way to reach us is by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Potenzieri said.
Vlerah also welcomes student opinions. “If students have questions, comments, or concerns about campus life, they can visit my office directly [at 201 Winnick House] or the offices within the Dean of Students area including Offices of Associate Deans Jessica Hayes and Adam Grohman, Student Life and Leadership Development, Residence Life, and International Student Services,” she said.