A look into CWRU’s new shuttle text number


Courtesy of CWRU (case.edu website)

Committed to improving transportation accessibility on campus, USG announced the release of a new text shuttle number that will provide students with direct and rapid responses to shuttle-related concerns.

Darcy Chew, Contributing Writer

On Sept. 13, the Undergraduate Student Government of Case Western Reserve University (USG) announced a new text shuttle number in their weekly newsletter designed to aid students with the shuttle system. 

Nathan Heddleston, Director of the Shuttle Operations at SP Plus, emphasizes how the number is a resource for students as they navigate the shuttle system. “Any student can call or text that number. And we have from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. a dispatcher who will respond to it,” Heddleston says. 

USG President Ananya Hari elaborates on how the text number was a recent development pushed by the Student Life Committee last semester due to similar recurring problems with the unreliability of the shuttle system. “We’ve just had a lot of issues with drivers just randomly taking breaks or popping off the grid, or [situations] like you’re in the bus and the [driver’s] taking a break, and you’re sitting there in the bus [for] 20 minutes and they’re, like, eating a sandwich,” Hari describes. 

Rather than having to write emails after the event occurred, the dispatch number is in place to solve real-time issues. It gives students a direct and rapid response to the problems they are facing. “The idea behind the texting and calling is to be able to react more quickly, because we were finding that, when I get an email, there’s so little I can do about it at that [moment].”

This dispatch is able to provide rapid answers to student questions about the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of the shuttles as well as other concerns about the system. “We can do a lot of stuff in real time. So we can pick up the radio and radio a shuttle driver and just say ‘hey, what’s your ETA to this stop?’ or ‘we have someone who has this issue, can you speak to it?’ We can of course take notes and respond to stuff later too,” Heddleston explains. 

Currently, the shuttle number is only getting a few calls and texts per day, but both Heddleston and Hari hope to spread the word about it. “One of the things I’m really excited about is that this text feature is going to put so many more pairs of eyes in the field. So if there’s an issue with wait time, they’ll let us know and we can get them moving right away,” Heddleston says. 

“It’s really [a] strength in numbers. That’s why I put it in the newsletter every week. I want as many students to have this on their phone as possible so that if the bus isn’t running or something’s not expected, you [can] have 20 people message this number. [And they’ll] do something about it,” Hari adds. 

Hari also mentions how this number is part of a collection of transportation initiatives pushed last semester to create a more reliable shuttle system for students. “There were a bunch of transportation initiatives that were coming out of Student Life last year. ​​We were trying to fix a lot of bus issues. We got the capacity limits on TransLoc. So you can see that or it’s like 50% full or 40% full,” Hari explains. 

Transportation is an integral part of college life and USG and SP Plus are committed to making the shuttle system more accessible and convenient. “The notion is that there are all these problems. So I really would love to work to change the temperature of it and have people embrace the shuttle system, and when there’s an issue just let us know and let us work on it. My team and I both, we really want to work to make this thing convenient,” Heddleston says.