Late night shuttles could hit a red light

The future of the late night weekend bus is on the rocks.With many complaints coming from Burlington residents, a group has formed at UVM that will decide whether the weekend off-campus bus does more harm than good.”There have been some terrible stories,” SGA speaker Claire Chevrier said. “A little girl had to go to therapy when she woke up to somebody peeing on her window.”Because of these incidents, the University feels something has to be changed about the late night shuttle to discourage downtown partying.The group making this decision consists of members of the community, members of the transportation department, ResLife, Burlington police department and bus drivers.”The information we get from bus drivers and students themselves is that people tend to use the bus not to go downtown to eat or go to a movie, but to try and find a party,” William Ballard, associate vice president of administrative and facilities services, said.There are no plans currently being put into effect, Ballard said.”I think we are trying to understand what would be the best solution in the long run,” he said. “We’ve had an issue for several years. We’ve tried various options, such as adding security to the bus and at some bus stops.”One of the proposals in the fall was to only transport students back to the dorms from downtown and not take anyone downtown after 10 o’clock, Ballard said.”We agreed to eliminate one street on the route, where a neighbor had been particularly vocal,” he said. “We’re trying everything we can to make sure that late-night service is safe.”Chevrier said she is concerned for the safety of both the students and the downtown residents, as well as that of the bus drivers.”It’s a safety problem for those who are on the bus, [even] those who aren’t intoxicated, and it’s a really big problem for the bus driver,” she said.Chevrier started an organization called “The Neighborhood Noise Task Force” that will serve as a way to link downtown residents to the University and encourage respectful behavior from the students.”We’re doing a bus audit next weekend,” she said. “We’re not looking to get anyone in trouble, we’re just there to collect data to see whether or not the majority of students are drinking.”If the data results come in negatively there is a chance that the late night bus schedule could change severely, Ballard said.”A change in behavior would be extremely important to see if we are going to keep the late night shuttle on a long-term basis,” he said. “Nobody is looking to take the service away from students, but we’re looking to ensure that everyone is safe.”Senior Michael Glynn said that he is against the discontinuation of the late night shuttle.”More kids may use the bus to go downtown, however there are still kids that use it to get to and back from the library,” said Glynn. “Taking that option away is ridiculous.”Students deserve to be able to interact with downtown Burlington, he said.”I’m not condoning illegal behavior, but if the University is not going to allow students [of age] to drink in the dorm, they have to allow the alternative,” Glynn said.