Unmarked vans unknown as JCU’s

November 18th, 2010

Senior Meg Haglin was waiting for the John Carroll University shuttle in front of the RecPlex in the Belvoir parking lot on Wednesday, Nov. 17.  While she was waiting, she saw an unmarked white van drive into the area regularly reserved for shuttle loading and unloading.

“I saw a guy get out, and looked in to see what I assumed was someone just dropping this kid off. Well then three guys jump in and ask him to take them to Whole Foods [Market],” said Haglin.

It was then Haglin realized that the unmarked van was a University shuttle.

JCU has three vans that are used as shuttles. Two of these shuttles are JCU-owned and are marked with the JCU logo on the side of the vehicle.

The University decided to add a third van to the fleet this semester because of the decreased parking on campus. The option for students and faculty to park for free at the Target parking lot increased the number of shuttle trips necessary each day.

“We knew if we only had two shuttles running that would mean increased waiting,” said Patti Taylor, Campus Safety Services parking coordinator.

This third van is not JCU-owned, but is rented from Enterprise Rent-A-Car for this semester. This van does not have the JCU logo on it.

According to Taylor, the unmarked van is used to transport students and faculty to campus in the morning. When a third shuttle is not needed, the two JCU-marked shuttles are normally used.

The University decided to rent the additional van rather than purchase one because they were unsure it would be necessary.

“We weren’t going to know until we were through the first semester what the impact of parking would be,” said Taylor.

According to Taylor, it is because of this uncertainty that a logo has not been put on the van. The logo would be an added cost for a van that the University may be using for only a few months.

However, Haglin would like to see the vans and drivers more easily identifiable for students.

“When the cab light went on [in the unmarked van] the guy driving was wearing camo[uflage]-style apparel and nothing JCU. So [there was an] unmarked van and [an] unknown driver,” said Haglin. “I waited another 10 minutes for a shuttle that was actually marked JCU, but again the driver was someone I had never seen driving it and also wasn’t wearing any indication he worked for JCU.”

Taylor said Campus Safety Services is looking into getting JCU T-shirts or hats for drivers so they are identifiable as JCU drivers.

“This has not been an issue until we rented the van,” said Taylor.

Taylor also said that many sophomores, juniors and seniors know most of the drivers.

Haglin said, “I just wish that we had more insight to the shuttle, like who the drivers are, where the exact drop off points are, and that the shuttles were actually marked.”