Facebook can help students catch the bus
The Department of Transportation encourages students to ‘like’ its page
Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 00:11
Every now and then the bus just doesn’t show up. No indication of a bus change at the stop, or on UConn’s transportation department website or even on their Facebook page. You check the GPS on your phone and see your desired bus line roaming around far from where you are. A problem students, including Allison Fitch a 7th-semester psychology major, occasionally face on campus.
“I waited for nearly a half hour before the bus driver on the Green line noticed myself and others at the stop from afar,” Fitch said, describing a time when there was no detour posted anywhere that Fitch could find for a lower F-Lot stop. Fitch noted that she often parks in fairly distant commuter lots, like many other commuters, and that this is not the first time she has had such bus troubles.
The Transportation Manager at UConn’s Department of Transportation, Logistics and Parking Services, Janet Freniere, explains how this kind of inconvenience can occur.
“If my student who can update the website isn’t here, it won’t get up on the website as quickly as we’d like,” Freniere said, noting that she is not as technologically savvy as many of the students who work in the building.
Freniere said she tries to get the word out to students about where they can find information on bus changes at the beginning of every semester, but admitted that “maybe it’s something that needs to go out more frequently.”
Fitch said she has seen signs at bus stops before that say that a line will not be going there that day or during a period of time. But the signs, she said, “aren’t always as clear as they could be,” highlighting one instance where the posted sign was a full page of words in a small font size. She said, “I could never have read that from my car pulling in,” she said
Freniere explained that they make a point to leave signs at stops that the department knows will not be serviced by buses for a significant amount of time, but sometimes a road or a parking lot will “just all of a sudden close and we don’t have any control over that.”
Sudden detours or delays are typically caused by accidents, Freniere said.
The Department of Transportation does try to get the word out to students about where they can find information and any changes on bus lines.
“We put it in the Daily Digest. We had signs on the buses…” Freniere said. It is also in their printed schedules as well as on the UConn Transportation Services Facebook page where most changes, even sudden ones, will be posted.
In the instance Fitch described, the detour had been posted on the Facebook page.
“We encourage people to like our Facebook page,” Freniere said. “We will put any updates, detours, delays, anything, on the Facebook.”
Freniere expressed her disappointment in the number of students who “like” the Facebook page (roughly 1,400) in comparison to the roughly 22,000 students at UConn.
If your bus just isn’t showing up, both Freniere and Fitch advise checking the GPS on your smart phone or Blackberry. If you are one of the unfortunate students who still use a not-so-smart phone, Freniere said there is a number that students can text to receive information about the buses.
Students can text their bus stop code to 41411. The code for each stop is listed on the Department’s website, bus.uconn.edu.
When Fitch couldn’t find a posting for the detour of the bus she’d been waiting a half hour for, she said she sent an email to the department, and that “they were responsive and apologetic.”
Freniere does admit that their detour and delay-announcing system is not perfect.
“I don’t honestly know if we have on the signs, recommending where they go…. That’s something that we’ll work on,” Freniere
In the F-Lot case that Fitch described, Freniere explains that construction was the reason for the detour. No signs had been posted at the stop.
“It was one of those, you know, it looked like it might come back shortly, kind of thing, so we kept hoping, but….We should have put something out there.”
Students parking in distant lots may want to have a charged smart phone and/or a comfortable pair of sneakers in their car at all times.