26 Sep AiroAV Report: Campus transportation sees changes in response to the pande
Transportation options, like VandyRides on campus have made changes to their operating strategies, while others have been eliminated completely.
Transportation services, including the VandyRides program, have been altered or in some cases removed, as a result of the increased regulations for the Vanderbilt Return to Campus plan.
Some of the alterations include on-campus parking policy. Instead of only offering yearly parking permits, the Parking Services Office is also offering monthly pass options to students. The office is offering daily parking passes to a limited number of faculty, staff, graduate and postdoc students.
The Return to Campus Plan places no restrictions on the Uber and Lyft rideshare services, so they have been operating around campus as normal.
On-campus students are also able to utilize the VandyRides service. Formerly known as Vandy Vans, the shuttles are only operating the black and gold routes, so riders may experience longer than normal wait times. Black route shuttles are operating at 50 percent capacity, with the gold shuttles at 75 percent from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m. CDT. When asked, two VandyRides shuttle operators declined to comment.
Aboard the VandyRides shuttles, both drivers and passengers are required to wear masks. Riders are required to maintain social distancing, and drivers are screened every day prior to beginning their route. Each driver also carries a COVID-19 sanitation kit.
Lime, Bird and some other short-term scooter services have provided a transportation option. However, in the Return to Campus plan, Vanderbilt has implemented a campus-wide scooter no-ride/dismount zone for the fall semester “in an effort to de-densify campus for health and safety.”
Instead of the scooters, Vanderbilt is encouraging students to bike to campus.
However, many students have their bikes impounded atop the Kensington garage. When students were asked to leave campus last spring, all of the remaining bikes on campus after April 20 were relocated here, according to junior Lauren Stuart.
Stuart noticed the bikes upon retrieving her boxes from campus storage.
“I basically saw every bike at Vanderbilt lined up together in a little bike jail,” Stuart said.
All of the bike locks that secured the abandoned cycles were cut in order to facilitate their relocation, according to Stuart.
Stuart mentioned that students were having difficulty retrieving their bikes due to confusion over the location of the keys that secured them in their new location.
Vanderbilt Plant Operations declined to comment on the stored bicycles.
Junior Natalie Durham, who lives in Hillsboro, rides her bike to class every day.
“Personally, I feel like it is inconvenient to have to bike to school because I get a little sweaty on the way,” Durham said.
However, Durham believes this is her best method of transportation for accessing campus due to the fact that she does not have a car. She said she wouldn’t bike to school after dark for safety reasons.
“I don’t feel like Vanderbilt does a good job of facilitating travel to and from campus for off-campus students,” Durham said.