Late night safety woes?

Take the off-campus shuttle home

| Staff Reporter

(Matt Lanter | Student Life)

WHO

Available for all students, faculty and staff

WHAT

Campus2Home; A one way shuttle service for late night commuters

WHERE

Leaves from Mallinckrodt Center and the Brooking Drives and takes students to their homes in the Skinker-DeBaliviere, Loop South, and North of The Loop

WHEN

7 p.m.-2:30 a.m. seven days a week

In an effort to improve safety off campus and alleviate students’ fears about walking home at night, Washington University instituted a one-way shuttle service for students and staff who want a safe ride home.

“Over the years we’ve had occasional requests from students for a late-night shuttle home, but we’ve never done it,” Associate Vice Chancellor for Operations Steve Hoffner said. “This year we decided it was time to reconsider the idea and look at all our off-campus services.”

The service, Campus2Home, made its first run on Monday. According to Chief of Police Don Strom, 30 students took advantage of the service on the first night. Huntleigh Shuttleport, which also runs the campus circulation, provides

Campus2Home. Several 10-passenger vans leave Mallinckrodt every 30 minutes from 7 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., seven nights a week. The buses also stop in front of Brookings steps and are available to students, faculty and staff.

People who use the vans give the driver the address to their home, where the driver drops them off and does not leave until the passenger is safely inside. There are no plans to institute a shuttle service from home to campus. If operated year-round, seven nights a week, the service would cost $230,000, but Hoffner does not anticipate that the program will run during the summer months.

“We are doing long-range planning for off-campus areas that we own, and now looked like a time when we should look at not only this but the quality of off-campus housing, and come up with a more comprehensive approach as to what we are doing,” Hoffner said.

Campus2Home is just one program that the University is providing for off-campus housing.

According to Hoffner, the off-campus safety forum on Jan. 27 led to some of the current ideas planned for the long-term development of the off-campus community. The University is already in the process making improvements to the Quadrangle apartments, which include fixing doors, increasing lighting, replacing windows and putting in a more-resilient window screen. Officials are also working on improving the street lighting in areas around the apartments and adding more blue light phones.

Campus2Home is currently an experiment, according to Hoffner, but it could develop if it proves to be successful.

“We will watch it carefully and see how many students use it,” Hoffner said. “We will listen to feedback from students who use the service, and we will re-evaluate if we want to continue it at the end of the semester.”

Strom said that while the University had been planning the implementation of these off-campus improvements before the December assault of a graduate student, the incident added motivation for the University to improve the safety of off-campus apartments and houses.

“Whenever you have an incident such as the one in December, there is a natural reflection process that you engage in and should engage in to review the processes and the programs that are in place and decide whether they continue to best serve the community,” Strom said. “We did some internal review and engaged in outreach meetings with students and staff so that there are ideas on the table for consideration.”

“After the internal reviews were completed, the University decided that this was the best time to implement [the shuttle service],” Strom said.

According to Strom, WUPD has been taking extra precautions to promote off-campus security. A brochure is available with information and advice about living off campus, and WUPD has posted a video to its Web site.

“We continue to try to educate students about campus crime in their neighborhoods and how they can protect themselves,” Strom said. “People need to follow guidelines for off-campus safety to happen.”

Strom believes that the program has potential to increase in ridership throughout the semester.

“The momentum has never been that strong for a shuttle service, but at this moment, the momentum is there for the service,” Strom said.

  • student

    Great Idea!

    We should talk about STL safety during orientation for freshmen. Not enough people at this university are street smart.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1661141506 Nancy Strickman Stein

    Very happy and relieved to see this needed service. Hope you continue to promote its use.