Wilkes cuts costs; students have no ride

Tom Reilly

Cathryn Frear, Staff Writer

The Wilkes shuttle is a free source of convenient transport for Wilkes students and employees.  Its main uses are football players getting to and from practice and students getting to and from the Ralston parking lot.  It also takes students to the bookstore as well as a few other places around campus.  If you  want to be let off somewhere that isn’t a regular stop but is still along the way, the drivers will usually let you off wherever.  As long as you ask nicely.

So while the shuttle is a fantastic resource for the campus community, this year it gained one major flaw: time.  The schedule was changed so the shuttle comes one less time per hour than in previous years, coming every half hour instead of 20 minutes.  In addition, a more pertinent issue is the time it stops running.  Before, the shuttle ran until 10 p.m.;  this year it runs until 6 p.m.

The only possible logical reasoning behind this is to cut costs.  Which is understandable.  Gas is expensive and running it less reduces maintenance fees, employee wages, etc.  So yes, Wilkes is saving money by running the shuttle less.  But at what cost to the people who rely on it?

Football players used to use the shuttle to get to and from football practice, but now they can only use it to get there.  This means some of the football players who have cars are now driving to and from practice.  Those who don’t have cars need to either find rides after practice or they must walk the mile from the field to campus after dark.  And we all know Wilkes-Barre is super safe.

Let’s address those driving over there.  Those who are driving are using gas.  Significantly more gas than they would if they piled onto the shuttle.  Not only is this more expensive to the students, but it goes directly against Wilkes’ initiative to become as “green” of a school as possible.  It’s lose-lose.

To those who are using the shuttle mainly to get to the parking lot, it’s become less convenient to get their cars, especially if they have night classes.  Since Public Safety stops ticketing at 4:30 p.m., it gives everyone an hour and a half to get their cars.

God forbid someone forgets to get their car by 6 p.m.  Then they get to make the walk over the bridge and pass Kirby Park at night.  Again, definitely safe.  Nothing could possibly go wrong.  Especially if, say, you’re a girl who may only be 5’2” with no martial arts training who has a tendency to be oblivious to the world around her.

Overall, this change is a really selfish one.  The pros do not outweigh the cons.  No matter how much money is being saved, the fact remains the shuttle is there for the people.  Apparently the care about our convenience and well-being ends at 6 p.m.

Hope you brought your walking shoes, Wilkes University.