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The Atlantic Shuttle gets the green light

The+Atlantic+Shuttle+started+its+trial+run+Thursday%2C+Feb.+12.+Max+Jackson+%7C+Photo+Editor
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The Atlantic Shuttle gets the green light

The Atlantic Shuttle started its trial run Thursday, Feb. 12. Max Jackson | Photo Editor

The Atlantic Shuttle started its trial run Thursday, Feb. 12. Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Max Jackson

The Atlantic Shuttle started its trial run Thursday, Feb. 12. Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Max Jackson

Max Jackson

The Atlantic Shuttle started its trial run Thursday, Feb. 12. Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Emily Creighton, Features Editor

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The Atlantic Shuttle — Florida Atlantic’s new student-friendly transportation system — started its trial run Thursday, Feb. 12.

The shuttle, which is owned by A1A Airport and Limousine Service, is a project by Student Body President Michael Cepeda who, with the help of FAU juniors Taylor Bergman and Brittany Silva, revamped the concept of a “safe ride program.”

Bergman and Silva were motivated to propose the shuttle idea after realizing the presence and danger of drinking and driving around campus. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 3,360,000 college students, ages 18 to 24, drive drunk every year.

Bergman said she hopes “the trolley [shuttle] will not only prevent students from legal trouble, but it will overall make Boca a safer community.”

Cepeda recalled, “[Planning] it goes back to like October… We had two students [Bergman and Silva] approach me about an idea to have a safe ride program like UCF, FSU and UF have.”

He was prepared for this to be a problematic venture though, facing obstacles including finding an approved vendor, dealing with legal arrangements, and getting approval from administration. “I told them [Bergman and Silva] that there’s a lot of red tape; there’s a lot of potential problems to getting that to happen. I laid it out for them and they’re like, ‘Okay. We’re gonna keep looking into it.’ I was like, ‘Perfect.’ At that time I was currently looking into a shuttle to go to the beach, so I said, ‘Hey. Let’s work together. Maybe this could be something that we can kill two birds with one stone.’”

In the end, everything was worked out and the shuttle is now available for Owl Card carrying students and will follow two routes, a day route and a night route, during its trial period this semester. “[It will run] every hour on the hour,” said Brittany Silva. “The trolley [shuttle] will take students to and from the beach on the weekend, and on Thursdays and Fridays it has routes to Mizner Park, Boca Raton Town Center Mall, McDonald’s, as well as on-campus housing.”

While Cepeda expects what he refers to as a “soft opening” — the weeks leading up to Spring Break — the shuttle will be heavily promoted via social media. This time will also be used to answer questions regarding route times and what stops actually worked. More information can also be found on The Atlantic Shuttle Facebook page.

Project funding will come out of Student Government Activity and Service Fees, a component of tuition paid by each student that is collected by FAU’s Board of Trustees and used towards student organizations, and at a seemingly low price tag in Cepeda’s opinion. “It’s about $20,000 for the semester, but it’s gonna be about $40,000 for a whole year… Looking at it in the big picture, it’s not really a lot of money for the service that we’re getting.”

Max Jackson | Photo Editor

Max Jackson | Photo Editor

In comparison, 2014-2015 A&S Fees designated $114,053 for Night Owls, FAU’s nightly, on campus golf cart service for students, for the year. Cepeda also shared that $40,000 has been added to the president’s projects account for next year to cover the shuttle’s operational costs.

Students like senior Ria Sitahal and sophomore Shanice Skyers feel that the program is not worth the money though, fearing that over time the new program will raise the price of tuition. “Every year tuition has been going up since I’ve been here and I’ve been here for a while. For people that live on campus, it’s a worth-while deal, but a lot of people are commuters anyways,” said Sitahal.

According to the 2013-2014 Common Data Set, 94 percent of FAU undergraduate students are commuters, but those who live on campus may still benefit from the shuttle.

Freshman Fagnole Jean-Baptist said, “It would definitely be [useful] … Let’s say I didn’t have a car and I wanted to go out. It’d be great for people who don’t have a vehicle or transportation.”

Time will tell whether or not the Atlantic Shuttle is an improvement for FAU students and campus life. As for now, President Cepeda is eager to see how the university community reacts to the new program, saying, “This is student government in action.”

About the Contributors
Emily Creighton, Features Editor

Emily is a multimedia journalism major. She became a contributing writer in fall 2014 and is pursuing a career in fashion writing. Follow her on Twitter:...

Max Jackson, Staff Photographer

Max is a political science and economics major with the goal of running for Congress in district 22 (Boca Raton).  He joined the University Press in 2012...

4 Comments

4 Responses to “The Atlantic Shuttle gets the green light”

  1. Boca Owl on February 21st, 2015 2:59 pm

    Why would this increase tuition? This has nothing to do with tuition. This is a great program and costs very little compared to some of the services on campus. Keep up the good work, SG!

  2. Glenn E. Gromann on February 22nd, 2015 3:18 pm

    FAU needs to coordinate these initiatives with the City of Boca Raton. The City/CRA is currently embarking on Downtown and other initiatives involving SFRTA, the “Downtowner”, etc. There is opportunity to integrate with these programs. Long term there is great opportunity to make transport and getting around the City safe and coordinated vis-à-vis FAU students. The University of Miami has been doing this for years with their “Hurry-canes” transport system. In Boca Raton we have the ability for Palm Tran and other modalities to pitch in and carry some of the burden. FAU is a major economic driver, students should be able to be able to experience the amazing City in which their university resides.

  3. Boca Owl on February 22nd, 2015 4:13 pm

    Could you expand on how this could work with the Palm Tran and Downtowner with some examples?

  4. caj on February 23rd, 2015 7:12 pm

    I think it is a great initiative and a great service. Plenty of commuters hang out on campus and go out with their friends who live in the dorms. In addition there are plenty of commuters who live close to campus on 20th street, and that figure is likely to only increase as projects like university park and others come on line. So I Dont think it is fully fair to say that no commuters will use this service. Though it is a fair assumption that maybe a 3rd year commuter living with parents driving from Ft. Lauderdale every day is less likely to use the service than on campus residents and commuters living within a mile of campus, all in all this does what it was meant to do, to offer students a safe and responsible option for having fun.

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