Sunday, January 27, 2013

Last Call (for tipsy transit)

UMass Hagis Mall drop off 2:08 AM early Sunday morning 

The UMass "Sober Shuttle", an after hours bus run from downtown Amherst back to campus, kicked off this weekend and by the looks of things -- a packed bus -- seemed successful.

But then, maiden voyages often are.

 A crowd of around 30 waits for 1:20 bus at Post Office town center 1:17 AM early Sunday
According to Student Government Association President Akshay Kapoor, “The truth is that there is only a very small segment of students who cause some, if any, disruptive behavior in our community, and it is my hope that this initiative will be another step by the university and its students to help reduce that problem and extend an olive branch to the town.”

Agreed.  Well, mostly.  Except the part about "if any" disruptive behavior.  If Mr. Kapoor is uncertain that any disruptive behavior can be traced to UMass students then he certainly has not been paying attention these past few years.  Or maybe just not reading this blog.  Or both.

My only fear is that the buses running late will encourage students to drink more. 

The other major problem we have with a minority of UMass students is ETOH calls (alcohol poisoning) tying up our ambulances, making them unavailable for other life threatening emergencies.

So making it safer and more comfortable for students to stay out even later, drinking, when just one more can put someone over the edge is certainly not going to help solve that part of the problem.

Sober Shuttle (Rt) bumps up against Sunderland Bus (left) 1:20 AM Sunday Town Center


Anonymous said...

They need to run the earley morning u-mass pick-up buses in and around all the party houses in No. Amherst,Cushman, so none students can stay a sleep, and keep mail-boxes standing!!!

Walter Graff said...

It's a good start. Students are going to drink. While this is not a perfect solution, it does help wrangle them up. You mention students drinking later because of it. Who says this is going to make them drink later. They drink till bars close as is. This just tells them they have to wait in the cold for a bus rather than drive or walk back to campus potentially vandalizing property on the way. Might be a bit sobering actually. That is until they start setting the bus stop on fire waiting for the bus. And who is going to hose down all the vomit. As for ambulances, has there ever been instances where drunken students prevented others from getting medial care. Sounds like a far fetched assumption to me.

Anonymous said...

And giving condoms to kids will make them have sex ... At least this bus will take some of the pressure off the neighborhoods who have to put up with screaming kids returning to campus. Lets give it a real test before we have negative thoughts.

And, let's work on the University's hiring a private weekend ambulance to add to the Town's current fleet.

Anonymous said...

Why - in addition to all the money they already have to pay for the PVTA/Transit, why is each and every student having to pay an extra $1 for this? Why isn't the Chamber of Commerce paying for it? It's their bars, their restaurants, their waitresses (who might not *have* a car) and such that are using it.

And I challenge anyone to tell me how to distinguish between an 18-year-old ARHS senior and an 18-year-old UMass freshman -- in looks, age, or behavior.

Anonymous said...

You're required to present a UCard to get on the bus. Unless the ARHS kids are making fake UMass IDs these days, I don't think it will be an issue.

As for who is paying for it, you can take my dollar.

Anonymous said...

I used to be a part of the UMass contingent of the PVTA (no longer am), and drove a few of these late night buses. When I was there (some time ago), the buses were timed adequately to the bars getting out, however on Saturday they were cut to half the late night service of Friday. This resulted in incredible numbers of people who wanted to responsibly use the bus to get to their festivities and then get home later, but there just wasn't enough room.

First, you only need to show a UCard to get on the Northampton bus, and the pictures above show a UMass bus, so the people getting all hot and bothered over Amherst high school kids can calm down and quit their bellyaching. When did ARHS become an issue anyway?

There are two choices here: you can let the kids walk home (where they will be tempted to drive or use the terrible cab system), or you can provide additional bus service to get them home to where they belong. The bus is the easy choice. In all my years of doing the job, rarely were there any students so disruptive that I needed to kick them off. Most of them just want a reliable way to get home safely. I am certain that because of limited late night service on weekends that more people drove to bars or parties, and am sure that some of them drove while intoxicated.

To Larry's concern that the kids will stay out longer or drink more: probably not. They will stay there as long as they can, they don't care if they miss the bus. Additional bus service may actually increase bar traffic, which is a good thing, as bars are regulated, don't serve people who are ETOH, and generally responsible, whereas house parties are not.

This isn't a perfect solution, but it is a great strategy, which doesn't cost a lot, and will surely help those who wish to responsibly patron the bars in town a safe and reliable way home. Any worries that it will exacerbate the issues are probably overstated. The majority of the trouble originates from house parties outside the center of town, where there is not a sober shuttle.

Anonymous said...

1/28 at 3:00 PM, I was on the job with Transit too for several years. Very well said.

-an eve regular (13 & 11)

Anonymous said...

Re: "As for ambulances, has there ever been instances where drunken students prevented others from getting medial care. Sounds like a far fetched assumption to me."

It's not that far fetched. Amherst frequently depends on mutual aid ambulances from surrounding communities, therefore delaying emergency medical care to someone in need. It is not, however, always the fault of drunken students... only sometimes.