Shortage on drivers



By Emmanuel Tril, CONTRIBUTOR
California State University, East Bay is approximately two miles from the Hayward BART Station. Based on the collected data from the Campus Master Plan, a majority of commuter students live in cities that have access to at least one BART station.
CSUEB offers a free shuttle service that transports students from the Hayward BART station to campus. The BART shuttle operates Monday through Thursday 6:15 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Fridays 6:15 a.m. through 6:30 p.m. The primary shuttle operates every 30 minutes during non-peak hours. A second shuttle is provided for students between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. and again from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The funds to operate these shuttles come from the second Alameda CTC/BAAQMD grant which will provide these services to CSUEB for two years.
Both commuters and on-campus students rely heavily on the various shuttles the school offers. From data collected in November of 2019, a total of 1,700 students boarded the shuttles daily, 1,300 of those students boarding the BART shuttles.
However, CSUEB couldn’t offer a seat to every student waiting at the shuttle stops, requiring many students to have to wait for the next shuttle. That shuttle could arrive anywhere between 10 and 15 minutes. Although the seating situation varies, this seems to be an issue that continues each semester.
“My mission as a driver is to bring students safely from point A to point B,” a driver, who requested to remain anonymous, said.
In addition, one important aspect of the driver’s job is to be courteous to students while on duty. In response to whether or not the driver though they were given the proper resources to perform their job, the driver stated: “I do think I received the proper tools to do my job especially now that we have new functioning buses. Buses arrive more frequently (every 18 minutes) which is good for students because it’s as a shorter waiting period of time
“The way I do my job, it’s similar to the old company, but I think we have to communicate better as a team in order to function properly and we have to improve our communication,” the driver continued. “My supervisor is like a soccer coach, he works with the team but if the team does not function as a unit then you can’t score goals and I feel we’re not functioning as a team. I think we are lacking in our communication skills.”
“We have a lot of miscommunication. I’m going back to my soccer example,” the driver stated. “If you don’t work as a team then we can score a lot of goals just like a soccer team so if you don’t communicate that prevented us from providing good service to the students or persons using the shuttle.”
There’s a lot of overcrowding and students don’t have a seat which discusses students to stay standing or not even gets on the shuttle at all.
Derrick Lobo, the director of parking alternative transportation at CSUEB, oversees the parking permits for the semester and makes sure that the landscape of campus is up to date by fixing the potholes so everything is running smoothly. On the side of alternative transportation Lobo provided some context on other modes of transportation.
Lobo said, “I oversee the shuttle service, we provide transportation for staff members on campus and also have Waze and Zip transportation where students share rides and also can bike as a transportation method. My goal as director of parking is to get more people on to these alternative transportation methods that we offer. I felt that the AC Transit option was the best way to get that done. I got our car services going with a vice president who voted that down. That is one of the biggest problems with the company right now.”
“The biggest difference between what we’re running now or trying to run now that wasn’t run in the past is we are trying to eliminate the breaks established by the old company. This company said that they would provide us with backup relief drivers. However, this company has not given us enough drivers with training. This has led to a lot of issues for students who are understandably upset because oftentimes, it’s not on time and it’s not following the schedule,” Lobo said, “the company is well aware of the issues that we’re having. I sent them a two-page email the other day of all the issues that we are having and they are taking my recommendations very seriously and are supposed to be sending out folks this week.”
When asked about the main changes Lobo faced, he said just getting drivers is a challenge of itself.
If a student has a comment or concern in regards to the shuttle service, they can visit the Parking and Transportation Department in SF140. Students can also contact them at (510)885-3790 or [email protected]