Shuttle Malfunction Resolved

There was no break in shuttle service after one vehicle broke down, only minor inconveniences to students, officials say.

One of the main shuttles that hauls students to and from Passan Hall returned to full-working order in April after an unexpected engine malfunction that left it unusable for close to three weeks.

April Hinkle, sophomore occupational therapy major, said students were inconvenienced but understanding.

“Sometimes you’re cutting it close to class because there’s only one shuttle working and it’s kind of cramped in the van they used to replace the big shuttle, but that’s all I have to complain about,” Hinkle said.

Robert Zavada, Director of Campus Safety and Security, said the shuttle malfunction was a surprise because the staff keeps up with maintenance.

“It was just a defect that occurred, but it had to be serviced at a special garage,” Zavada said.

Zavada temporarily replaced it with a van similar to those that run during the weekends to take students to places like Walmart or the Wyoming Valley Mall.

Zavada said two problems were that the temporary van is much smaller than the main shuttle and it did not have a driver-controlled door.

Shelby Abraham, sophomore occupational therapy major, said the smaller size of the temporary van may have added commuting time between buildings.

“When we have a lot of people coming out of class at the same time sometimes we have to be split up, which affects how we get to our other classes because a lot of them are back-to-back. But I still appreciate even having a shuttle,” she said.

Junior occupational therapy major Michaela McQuaig rarely takes the shuttle, but she did while one of the main shuttles was down.

“When it broke down it, was just harder the few times I did decide to take it because they would sit in one spot instead of going in a continuous loop. So unless you called or were there at the right time, it wasn’t reliable,” said Michaela McQuaig, junior Occupational Therapy major.

Zavada said it is difficult to replace the standard shuttle for multiple reasons, including handicap accessibility.

“We work with a leasing company on vehicles such as that because they are kind of unique. The bigger shuttle that is just used for student transportation is equipped with a handicap lift in the back. We want to make sure that option is available for students on campus, but that type of vehicle is not always readily available,” said Zavada.

Zavada said the school also requires vans to have driver-controlled doors and size sufficient to hold many students, but not so large to require drivers to have CDL licenses, which are required for drivers of commercial vehicles.

“In a way we are limited with the amount of passengers that can fit, but it is a benefit because we could use somebody that has a regular drivers license, such as a campus safety officer. If we had to go to some other type of vehicle, that was bigger than that, we would have to get someone with a CDL license and it might be difficult to get someone to fill that position,” said Zavada.