Students Report Unreliable LSU Campus Shuttle System and Mobile App Issues | News
LSU students have complained about inconsistent on-demand rides through the university’s shuttle system with ambiguous pickup locations and general unreliability.
“Shuttles aren’t very reliable sometimes,” said Raven Freeman, an LSU freshman who lives at Miller Hall. “Some days the shuttles come quickly, other days the shuttles come slower than usual. Sometimes the shuttles don’t come at all.
LSU’s on-demand transit services are intended to allow students to request a shuttle from 5 p.m. to midnight throughout the week around campus. To request a shuttle, students must use the TransLoc app or call the shuttle headquarters phone number.
The location of the shuttle can be found on the TransLoc app but is not always accurate. The same app is used for the university’s bus system, TigerTrails, and students have previously complained about app issues with bus times and locations.
Josh Galasso, LSU Transportation’s demand manager, identified communication issues between OnDemand shuttles and LSU students. Galasso said there’s been a trend for LSU to lose money through on-demand shuttles.
“LSU Parking and Transportation Services is aware of some of the issues students are having on the TransLoc app,” Galasso said. “We are looking at other options that may exist, technology platforms or making improvements to the existing system.”
LSU Parking and Transportation Services and Student Government have created a proposal for a safe driving program. The program will be powered by Lift to allow students to demand rides to their nearby areas. Implementation of the safe driving program will occur around fall 2022 and may alleviate demand for TigerTrails and the shuttle system.
Freeman thinks OnDemand shuttles are good for getting to different parts of campus, but can become a nuisance when the student isn’t told the exact location of the shuttle.
“If I don’t feel like waiting for a shuttle, I’ll walk,” Freeman said.
When comparing which transit service is most dependent, Freeman chooses Tiger Trails as his preferred choice.
“The on-demand shuttles are a problem on some days, and I prefer to walk to the bus stop,” Freeman said. “I know Tiger Trails buses will always be at the nearest bus stop as soon as they complete their previous routes.”
Patricia Caputo, an LSU freshman, has been using the on-demand rides most recently due to inclement weather and travel to LSU baseball games. She said OnDemand shuttles take time to arrive at pickup locations, but understands the delays.
“I also understand that they have a lot of students to recover, not just me,” Caputo said. “Especially during COVID, there are a limited number of staff driving the shuttles.”
Caputo benefits from shuttles running at night. Living on the east side of campus, she has a long distance to travel for sporting events, which are held on the west side of campus. Walking alone at night can be scary, which consequently makes Caputo dependent on OnDemand shuttles.
“It takes about a 20-minute walk to get to the west side of campus,” Caputo said.
The difficulty in finding shuttles is the main problem Caputo faces.
“I wish the shuttle communication was more interactive,” Caputo said. “When the shuttle would text you, it would ping to locate where the shuttle was. I wish there was an option to call the specific shuttle that is picking me up. It can be confusing to know where the shuttle is will meet again.
Caputo, along with Freeman, have to walk to UREC to get picked up and walk from UREC back to their dorms. Their dorms do not have access to on-demand pickup and drop-off locations. This can be a problem if bad weather occurs when requesting a shuttle or if a student has disabled accommodation.