Opinion: SWAU Needs a More Reliable Transportation System

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Matt Forner

The transportation system that Southwestern Adventist University offers is a great idea. It allows students to be dropped off and picked up at the local airports, train stations, and bus terminals. Taxis can cost as much as $150 each way, and neither Uber or Lyft, which are personal taxi services used with an app on your phone, will serve our location because it is so far from the metro areas.

However, if this service is something that we’re going to offer, it needs to have a certain level of competency and consistency. I have personally experienced times when it was inconsistent, and this is a huge problem not only because it is costly, but also time consuming and potentially unsafe.

Last year during Spring Break, I was returning from my home in Chicago. I had booked a flight to DFW Airport and due to the late nature of my flight, I double checked with campus services to make sure that my ride was guaranteed. I was told not to worry and that I would be picked up. I arrived at the designated time, picked up my baggage, and waited outside the terminal where I was told to wait. One hour passed and no one came. Two hours, still no ride. Four hours had passed, still I had not been picked up. By this time, it was clear that nobody was coming. After praying about the situation, I watched a limousine driver drive by, who asked me if everything was all right. I negotiated a price and he took me back to school. It was around 3:30 a.m. when I finally arrived on campus, and I was expected to be present at a 7 a.m. class.

It turned out that they had in fact sent a driver to get me; he simply went to the wrong airport. This mistake happens often. I was also told after the event that the driver didn’t have a cell phone, which is a problem. It’s also not an excuse to leave a student stranded. What if instead of being a 5’7, 300-pound male I had instead been a 5’1, 90-pound young woman, stuck at an airport at 1 a.m. with no hope of getting home?

The transportation service is a helpful system. However, there are things that need to be fixed in order for it to run smoothly. One suggestion I have is requiring all drivers to carry cellphones and be in contact with the person they are picking up or dropping off. It is also essential that the drivers be willing to always do their job in a timely and consistent manner.

The idea of having a transportation system and having a great transportation are two very different things and it takes work and effort to make that happen. The excuse “it is what it is” should not apply when a student’s safety is concerned.

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