This is a vacant bus stop by Drown Hall on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. The buses are not as available to students on the weekends. (Megan Burke/B&W photo)

Requests for weekend transportation answered with pilot program

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During the school week, Lehigh’s campus buzzes with college life: students racing from class to class, chatting in the dining halls and typing away at library keyboards. On weekends, though, this hectic buzz calms down and classes take a short break.

This break, however, also extends to some major services provided to students during the week.  For example, Lehigh’s buses are not available on weekends, which often strands students who live on “the Hill” and isolates them from the rest of campus.

Jigar Patel, ’17, a resident of Sayre Park B, often finds himself stranded on weekends. Sayre Park is located on the upper part of “the Hill,” which makes it difficult for its residents to travel to the main campus without the bus service.

“It’s not that bad in warmer months,” Patel said. “But definitely in the wintertime, the last thing anyone wants to do is walk up the hill in single-degree weather.”

Patel also said that because the buses do not run on the weekends, he often feels discouraged to venture from his dorm.

“Going to visit friends in houses on the hill is fine, but if you want to visit your other friends down on campus you really have to think about it,” he said. “There have been some days this semester where I just stayed in my apartment all weekend because it was too cold to walk all the way down.”

Bob Bruneio, the manager of Transportation Services, said that the office is conducting research to determine if enough people would use the bus service on the weekends.

“We’re currently working on meeting them to discuss ways in which we can offer the best service possible to students,” Bruneio said, commenting on the office’s collaboration with Lehigh’s Student Senate.

The student senate will be conducting a trial run for a weekend route beginning March 29 and on Sundays for the rest of the semester. Instead of providing a Lehigh bus, students will be able to take a ride in the T.R.A.C.S. van from 12 – 8 p.m. The van will run every half hour and follows the traditional T.R.A.C.S. route.

In addition to limited transportation, there is also a decrease in dining options on weekends. Students who stay on campus every weekend — especially those without access to their own kitchen and cooking supplies — see a restriction in their options during the weekend. Rathbone and Hawk’s Nest are available throughout the weekend, however, Lower Cort closes after lunch on Fridays and does not open until Monday.

In past years, the entire University Center, including Upper Cort, was closed during the weekends. Now, some parts of Upper Cort stay open on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pandini’s, Flame and the Simply to Go section are available for students’ convenience on the weekends.

David Joseph, the executive director of Student Auxiliary Services, said there are a few reasons why some dining options are available on the weekends while others are not.

“Lower Cort is closed on weekends simply because it is a good business decision,” he said. “Years ago, Rathbone was closed on weekends, but since the renovation in 2006 we switched it up.”

Dining Services has worked to determine the best way to serve students with the most options possible.

“We try to offer students a good mix of options from the ‘All You Care to Eat’ facilities,” Joseph said.

He also said that Dining Services is always looking to compromise between what is best for business and students alike. He would like students to know that their feedback is always welcome and appreciated.

“We’re always looking to offer the best service to our students,” Bruneio said. “If students have questions, concerns, or suggestions – we encourage them to give us a call.”

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