By Victoria NeelyColumnist
The concern for safety in the areas surrounding campus has caused Hofstra to reevaluate its security standards and implement change accordingly. To many students, recent changes may not appear to make a difference, but in reality, the creation of the night shuttle, which loops around popular streets in Hempstead every night from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., has been a huge leap for the university.
It is good to give credit where credit is due. Hofstra has shown a true commitment to the safety of its students, both on and off campus. Put yourself in the university administration’s shoes, and ponder how to prevent armed robberies, injuries and other dangers from harming students while they are off-campus. It is an extremely nebulous task – but one that the night shuttle helps to alleviate.
Though, at first mention, the night shuttle did seem pointless – mostly due to doubts about how often students would actually utilize it, and whether it would benefit students who live on streets not included as stops in the regular route. After riding it for the first time myself, I had conflicting opinions.
First, I noticed that there were only a few other students on the shuttle. I did not expect the bus to be packed with students eager to take advantage of a new Hofstra service, but I did expect a larger turnout. However, I did not stick around for the entire seven-hour shift, so it is not to say that the shuttle does not get busier during certain times of the night.
The shuttle’s GPS tracking system is well put together. Your Smartphone or Hofstra portal shows where the stops are, as well as the approximate times at which the bus will arrive at each stop. It appeared to be kept up-to-date, which was appreciated. My only criticism of this aspect was that I did not know exactly where I should have been waiting for certain stops. For instance, the Estabrook stop is not quite in front of Estabrook Hall; it is actually located on Hofstra Blvd., which is a little further out. Looking at the map while walking toward the destination was the only way for me to figure out where the bus would be stopping.
I have faith that the shuttle can be useful for students traveling to houses near campus, or even for those going out at night. Plus, for students going to parties in the surrounding area, no one will have the option to drink and drive, nor the risk of receiving a parking ticket.
As time goes on and more students learn how easy it is to track the shuttle and use it instead of walking, the service’s popularity will surely grow. It is a safer alternative that more people should use to their advantage.
But establishing a night shuttle system is pointless if no one takes advantage of it. The service was made for our safety and convenience, so we should make the smart decision and use it.