After broken I.D. card readers in the St. Thomas shuttle buses were removed, the university made plans to replace the readers in the spring of 2013.
Financial systems manager Greg Campbell said until the card readers are installed, the buses will run on the honor system. For now, the bus drivers check St. Thomas I.Ds and take manual head counts.
Public Safety Director Dan Meuwissen said readers were originally placed in the shuttles because Public Safety noticed that students weren’t the only ones riding the shuttle bus to and from the university’s Minneapolis campus, which Meuwissen said has been a problem in the past.
“We’re insuring that it’s our students, faculty, and staff, and not the community members taking the shuttle. It’s your use,” Meuwissen said. “I don’t want you standing on the corner with a full bus and the other people that are not paying for the service using them.”
The new system that Campbell is working on will have two card readers on each bus. One will be used when students, faculty and staff get on the bus in St. Paul, and the other when riders get on the bus in Minneapolis.
Gallus said instead of just a swipe, shuttle bus riders will now need to feed the entire card through the new reader. A green light will appear when an ID card is accepted and a red light when it is not.
Senior Sara Nordstrom said she considers a card reader to be a necessary nuisance.
“It’s kind of a hassle to get out my I.D.,” Nordstrom said. “I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m a student because I’m lugging around these books. But I think it’s good to be on the safe side.”
Sophomore Taylor Zimmerman said she does not think these readers should be used at all.
“That will just take longer to load the buses, which is kind of annoying,” Zimmerman said. “I think other people should be able to ride the bus to and from Minneapolis campus. Alumni or U of M or anyone else, I don’t care.”
Meuwissen said students will also notice additional changes. Instead of running three buses Monday through Friday, only two will run on Friday. Last year, the three bus system on Fridays was used because of the problems with University Avenue and I-94, Meuwissen said.
Gallus explained that overall, the campus provides these shuttle buses with certain goals in mind.
“We’re here to provide a service; a good, safe, comfortable service for campus. That’s what we’re here for,” Gallus said.
Laura Landvik can be reached at email@example.com.