Students split on university shuttle app upgrades

Olafimihan Oshin, Staff Writer

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Tahir Juba
The McKeldin Center is one of the campus-wide shuttle stops.

Morgan has implemented additional shuttles, bus stops and updated the student transportation app to accommodate its growing number of students and their transportation needs, but students are split on the new app. 

For years, Morgan’s BEARtransit service has transported students all over destination spots both on and off-campus including Blount Housing Towers, Montebello, Marble Hall Gardens and off campus locations. The transportation app Rider allows students to see their bus’ current location and predict its time of arrival. 

This year, the transit shuttle has extended its services to include stops at Kensington Gate apartments and student housing in downtown and midtown Baltimore but on the app, there are only two types of shuttles. The campus-wide shuttles take students to on-campus destinations while the residential shuttles drive as far as the off-campus apartments. 

Students and faculty have expressed grievances about the recent changes to Morgan’s Bear Shuttle service over the past two weeks. 

Information Science and Systems major Uma Madu, for one, doesn’t like the updated app. 

“I don’t think it was well organized before the school year opened,” she said. “The app is not working, it’s kind of confusing.”

She added that sometimes she is unsure when buses will arrive. Madu had an easier time using the app last semester, before it was updated.

Tahir Juba
Morgan students board a shuttle at the McKeldin Center.

“Unlike last semester where you can see where the buses are going but now you can’t even see you just have to act,” she said. “It’s very inconvenient and you have to wait for a very long time before it comes.”

Kevin Banks, vice president of student affairs, said that so far, he has heard no complaints about the shuttle services. He acknowledged, however, that just because he hasn’t heard anything doesn’t mean all students are completely satisfied.  

“I’m not saying there won’t be any [complaints] but right now I’ve gone to the bus stops I talked to a few students and they were pleased with the frequency with the shuttles coming back and forth and that reduces wait time,” he said. 

He added that the frequency of shuttle service will be especially critical after daylight savings time. 

“We don’t want our students waiting in the dark,” Banks said.  

According to Banks, the university’s Board of Regents is brainstorming new ways  to ensure the safety of students around campus.

“I got 8,129 students that I’m responsible for on this campus and I want to see them all go across that stage,” he said. 

While students appreciate the additional shuttle stops, some still believe the new system will be an adjustment. 

“They’re convenient in a way I guess but they’re also kind of not,” said vocal performance major Deja Crenshaw. 

The junior was used to the campus-wide shuttle that went all over the campus and dropped students off at off-campus housing facilities. 

Crenshaw said that depending on only one bus makes it more difficult for her to get to class, especially if the bus is late or doesn’t arrive at all.

Tahir Juba
Morgan student Bryeana Rhodes waits for the shuttle.

“If it doesn’t work I have to walk from Morgan View all the way to Murphy,” she said. 

Students have proposed potential solutions to the ongoing shuttle dilemma including updating the night schedule and informing students on route changes in advance 

“If they’re going to create a whole new app and change the lots and routes they should let the students know beforehand,” Crawford said. “Test out the routes with the drivers so they can get the hang of it because they were stuck and confused as well.”