When sitting down with bubbly drum line leader Catie Zecher, it is clear that the tune of the marching band would be different this year. Zecher said some marching band members might be feeling a little less energetic by the end of this season, due to lack of transportation.
“We’re singled out because we have large instruments,” claimed Zecher, when discussing the recent enforcement of not letting certain instrument players on the shuttle buses.
“It was just frustrating when we first found out” said Zecher when describing how some of the band members felt when hearing that they could no longer take the shuttles.
The university has not provided alternate transportation for the band members at this point, so they are left to be responsible for their own mode of transportation for themselves and their instruments.
“It’s basically a trek and a half all the way across campus…and some band members can’t even afford parking permits,” said Zecher.
With some students being denied rides on the campus shuttle buses, it makes some of the students wonder “Am I really getting what I’m paying for?”.
When talking to shuttle bus driver Dave Dunbar he seemed to echo the opinion of many people all across campus when discussing the new restrictions about who they let on the shuttles.
“I think it sucks, they hurt you guys.” said Dunbar. He went on to express how tuition continues to increase, but in the end students are getting burned “they charge you more to give you less”.
Budget cuts to the Department of Parking and Transportation Services here on UNR’s campus come with cuts to how many buses they let run. They cut morning buses down to two, daytime buses to five, and night buses are down to one. This is down from three in the morning, six during the day, and two at night.
While it’s rumored that overcrowding is the cause for the exclusion of students with large items on the bus; however this claim was disproven after talking with Melodie Bayfield, director of parking and transportation services. It turns out that the DPT was investigated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over summer. It concluded that UNR’s shuttle services were being too lax on who they let on to the shuttle buses.
“It’s federal regulations that require us not to allow any large items of any kind of any sort to block the isles [in the bus],” said Bayfield, “we have to follow federal regulation.”
Legal or not, this recent implementation not letting certain larger items on shuttle buses is still is upsetting to some.
When asked what frustrates students in the marching band the most about this problem, Zechers response was instant. “They’re like ‘well, I’m full time, I pay the tuition and I pay for the shuttles, so why can’t I use it?’” said Zecher.
Not only the band members are affected, since last year they had two bus drivers retire that they had no funds to replace, and resulted in taking one bus off each route throughout the day. This results in students sometimes struggling to find open seats.
“[It’s] all due to budget cuts.” said John Kreiger, head of shuttle services, when asked about why they cannot afford to keep as many shuttles as they had last year.
Students now have to wait longer to use shuttles and the shuttles are said to be overcrowded at times. But throughout all this, the DTP is still confident in its services to the schools, other than less people being let on buses.
“We’re still meeting the needs of this campus in regards to shuttle services” said Bayfield, “what it says is ‘you will be serviced in ten minutes’ and we’re meeting that easily…even with increasing amount of students riding them.”
Band practice time’s are:
Monday Wednesday and Friday from 2p.m. until 4p.m.
And Saturday’s before football games
There is at least one bus less on each route, taking away fifty potential seats to students on each route.
See more photos HERE
Original Publishing Date: October 2011