No changes are in the foreseeable future for the off-campus shuttle schedule. The shuttle schedule was modified at the beginning of the fall semester, and service was reduced to one day a week.
The off-campus shuttle now runs only on Saturdays from 12 p.m. until 10:25 p.m. It stops at Giant supermarket in St. Davids, Anthropologie in Wayne, the Wayne Movie Theatre, Minella’s Diner, Suburban Square shopping center in Ardmore and Cosi in Bryn Mawr.
Up until this fall, the shuttle stopped in the parking lot where Borders Books in Bryn Mawr was located. According to Director of Public Safety, David Tedjeske, the owner of the building and parking lot contacted the University over the summer and said that he no longer wished to have the shuttle stop in the parking lot.
The owner expressed concern over Villanova students avoiding buying a parking permit by parking in the lot for the day and taking the shuttle to campus.
Tedjeske said that the department tried to find a new place for the shuttle to stop.He said that in order for the shuttle to stop in a new location, the owner of the property must be willing to allow it and it must be safe and accessible for the shuttle to maneuver.
One of the locations the department looked into was Home Properties of Bryn Mawr. While Home Properties was willing to have the shuttle stop there, Tedjeske said that due to the “turning radius and sight lines coming out of the lot,” it was not possible.
They also looked into having the shuttle stop on the street, but Tedjeske said that, being a private operator, they could not do so. When asked how the shuttle maneuvers the tight Cosi parking lot, Tedjeske said that he is not sure where exactly the shuttle drops off near Cosi.
He said it is possible they do stop on the street, saying, “Maybe they can get away with it on a Saturday near Cosi, but on a daily basis we’re not able to do that.”
Tedjeske said that after having difficulty finding a replacement for the Borders stop, the department then looked at cost.
“I wouldn’t say we cut it for budget, but when we looked at the numbers and looked at what we were paying, certainly it didn’t seem fiscally responsible especially when our efforts to find an alternate location didn’t work out,” Tedjeske said.
The off-campus shuttle costs the University $70,000 per year. “That off-campus route was our least productive route in terms of the ridership,” Tedjeske said.
He said that on average, the off-campus shuttle had about five people per hour. The on-campus shuttle averages 30 to 40 people per hour. As for having the shuttle run during the hours that have the most riders, Tedjeske said this would be too difficult logistically.
Tedjeske said he believes that Villanova has more public transportation options than most other colleges, and these options are listed on Public Safety’s website.He also said that students signing leases for housing next year should think about proximity to public transportation if they do not have a car.
Students remain upset about the changes to the off-campus shuttle, including senior Andrea Zinn, who lives off-campus and did not have a car to get to and from campus until recently.
“I felt extremely blindsided when I found out there wouldn’t be an off campus shuttle,” Zinn said.“I planned my senior housing around the shuttle stop because I knew I wouldn’t have a car, and I would have probably made different decisions if I had known otherwise.”
Zinn said that the main problem is not so much getting to campus without a car, but finding a safe way home after having meetings and classes late into the night.
“I met with Public Safety last semester and was told that special accommodations were being made for off-campus students without cars, but I still haven’t seen that happen,” Zinn said.
“I was told that a shuttle similar to the mobility shuttle would be provided for off-campus students. I was also told that a monthly Septa pass was ‘only about $80,’ but that’s an unrealistic and unnecessary expense for college students on a budget, especially when alternative options are certainly possible if Villanova would choose to pursue them.”
Student Government Association President Chris Marroletti, on the issue of an off-campus shuttle said: “It was truly disappointing returning to school this fall to discover the off campus shuttle would no longer be offered to the University students. This change has left many students frustrated. Some even expressed to SGA how their current housing plans were determined knowing that the off-campus shuttle service was available.”
“SGA has advocated for the return of the shuttle, or a modified version, and has worked tirelessly with University officials to promote this change. It is my hope that the University recognizes the safety, comfort and convenience this service once provided students. It is time to look to the student community to voice their concerns, frustrations and interest regarding of the off-campus shuttle,” Marroletti said.