The West Loop Shuttle has been discontinued for the rest of the semester. Introduced in the spring of 2009, the shuttle ran on Fridays from 7 p.m. until 1 a.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. The West Loop Shuttle destinations included Coventry, Little Italy and University Circle. It closed due to a tight budget, insufficient funds from the Student Activity Fee, and low student usage. The route has been terminated for the remainder of the year, but it is unclear what will happen to the West Loop in the future. Student Union hopes to analyze student opinion and redesign the program to return in the fall.
The Student Union has already been presented with two programs as alternatives to the shuttle program. One program was the Zipcar where students could rent vehicles. This program seems a bit unrealistic though. The Student Activity Fee can’t cover the funding of the shuttle loop, so they probably aren’t going to be able to fund this program. Plus, there would be no way of monitoring what the vehicles would be used for. U-RTA, a $25 per semester program that would allow students to ride the RTA an unlimited amount of times, would allow for prepaid transportation around campus, downtown and to the airport.
Other Jesuit universities, such as Marquette University, have student drivers who are paid through work-study to act as a student cab service. This would be beneficial as it would employ more students and cut back the costs of paying full-time employees to drive the shuttles. We believe that there are plenty of options to explore here and they should be researched and exhausted fully. Students, especially those who don’t have cars, need some sort of transportation service to Cleveland areas.
The success of the West Loop Shuttle depends on spreading the word to students. We feel it could be successful if more students are aware, as it is sure to be suggested again in the future if canceled.