Thursday, January 9, 2014

UMass Sober Shuttle Scuttled

 Sober Shuttle 1:15 AM Amherst Town Center

After less than a one-year trial run the much ballyhooed Sober Shuttle is no more.

The late night program used PVTA buses that ran after the bars closed in an effort to keep drunk drivers off the road and to cut down on waves of students walking through residential neighborhoods to get back to their beds in the dead of night.

But it seemed to duplicate already existing runs of the PVTA and never seemed to gain traction.  A uniformed UMass police officer assigned to every run could also have acted as a popularity deterrent.

The $50,000 program was a Student Government Association project paid for via student fees.

UMass administrators were not overly enthusiastic in promoting the endeavor because they did not wish to be seen condoning/enabling excessive alcohol consumption.

But at the same time they used it to demonstrate the University and students were doing something about rowdy behavior.

Fear not, however, the good intentioned safety program has been replaced with a more cost effective answer.  Yeah, there's an app for that: Sobrio. 


Walter Graff said...

A nice effort. Sad the University can't admit the truth. College kids drink. Not all are irresponsible. Nice to know those that need a lift had one. It says a lot about how the University drinking policy is shaped and why it's often a failure. But public relations trumps reality these days. Sort of like a parent saying their kid doesn't have sex when everyone knows they do.

Unfortunately this project was dead from the get-go as young adults, drinking and buses don't fit together well in rural MA.

Next they town needs to sell the "trolley's" gathering rust in North Amherst.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if it's worth noting, but the sober shuttle twitter was never run by UMass, but a rather eccentric UMass alum.

Larry Kelley said...

Kind of like a high school kid pretending to tweet as the Amherst School Superintendent.

Tom McBride said...

You can't say the intentions weren't good. But there were other buses. And the people on this blog are probably over the age of 30, probably way over that age. Maybe we don't understand, but it's possible a sober 20 year old would feel uncomfortable getting on a bus with a police officer, and why would an inebriated 20 year old do that? All of you, with the possible exception of Larry, who would say, drunk or sober, innocent or guilty of something, you were comfortable in the presence of a cop at the age of 20, please raise your hand. As much as we want them to behave as adults, for God's sake, these are college students, not yet fully formed adults. Who of you, grounded in reality, believes these people have the life experience and maturity of somebody that is 50? Writing this makes me realize, if any of us are so inclined, that we could as act as their mentors, role models, for people often in a difficult part of their lives trying to find their way, instead of simply acting as authority figures handing down punishment for bad behavior. They're not our children, but it wouldn't be unheard of to lend them a helping hand.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, except that he always means well. He had to shut down his UMass Cheerleading fan twitter because of threat of lawsuit from the University. Good kid, just misguided and overzealous.

Anonymous said...

Only less creative and funny.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ January 9, 2014 at 10:12 PM is correct. The Twitter was not run by UMass nor did it pretend to be (unlike the school superintendent twitter).

Walter Graff said...

I've discussed it before and will apply it here, this college generation is part of the millennial realm. That generation is about distrust and because of the unnatural virtual world of internet socialization they live in, they are to themselves and only relate to those that belong to their virtual world.

You make fun of the guy who created the bus site but he had it right because he is part of that generation. And whoever said the University did not sponsor what this former student hit the nail on the head. He explains why the University is out of touch with its student body. created

Had the University given the bus it's own Facebook page where "the Bus" could "tell stories", show some pictures of riders each week, offer some fun games and contests, and make a few jokes they might have had a huge success. Not kidding.

You have to play the social game that is appropriate for this generation. No offense but 50 year olds trying to shape the social scene for college kids often doesn't work because 50 year olds don't look at what kids need or want, only what they knew worked when they went to college. That might have worked if you went to college in the late 60s and this was the 80s or 90s.

One thing changed the game dramatically and that is texting, internet, and likes of Instagram and Facebook. This is a very different world.

Instagram is now the way people communicate. Yes we used to say a picture was worth a thousand words, but now that meaning has taken on a whole new realm. If every week the bus had a # and joined that virtual world, I bet kids would have parties on it. Oh and the cop. Had he been given a virtual imprint he'd be everyone's friend and kids would be lining up to take pictures with him to post on Instagram.

Laugh all you want, but many older people simply don't get the younger generation and what works for them. Even down to kindergarten there is a new way to get through to these kids that few understand because they are thinking old-school and don't understand what is driving these latest generations need.

The University would do wonders to start learning how to actually get through to their students. What they do now does little to do that. It is still the us vs them mentality from the student body. There is a very easy way to change that dramatically. I know it's worked very well with me and others who understand what it is that drives kids these days.

Dr. Ed said...

Oh and the cop. Had he been given a virtual imprint he'd be everyone's friend and kids would be lining up to take pictures with him to post on Instagram.

Walter, you are living in the past, the era of a department sharing the values of folk like Mike Grabec & Jack Luippold is long over.

The UMPD no longer even really makes much of having a mission to "enforce the criminal laws of the Commonwealth" -- and on several occasions when I (personally) was the victim of a crime, they explicitly told me that they had no intention of doing so.

No, Walter, the UMPD's mission has become that of enforcing the edicts of the campus administration. To "control" the students -- not to "protect & serve" citizens but an army of occupation to control a subjected population.

You also have to understand that the riots of a decade ago now changed everything -- it is now an "us versus them" attitude (on both sides) and the UMPD considers each and every student to essentially be an "enemy combatant."

The days of Jack Luippold & Mike Grabec are long gone. "Officer Friendly" is no more -- and it doesn't make a scintilla of difference that you haven't done anything wrong. And in the twisted & demented warp of reality that Planet UMass has become, merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time can get you both arrested and/or expelled from school.

It's explicitly understood amongst the student body -- a UM student simply should not be where the police are. While anywhere else, being in the presence of police officers is a preferable thing and a safe place to be (e.g. Fenway Park), in & about UMass, the police are your enemy.

The more "squeaky clean" you are, the more you fear them, and the greater effort you take to avoid them (at all costs). That's the twisted reality of Planet UMass.

That's how one uniformed officer can keep a bus empty. Even if you are as sober as a churchmouse, even if you are a 4.0 honor student, the fact that a police officer is on the bus means that you don't want to be.

Walter, no amount of "spin" or any other form of propaganda is going to change this reality.

young adults, drinking and buses don't fit together well in rural MA.

Walter, just four words refute your entire theory: "The Bus Is Warm."

It's not like years past when the young ladies would wear jeans over thermal underwear and otherwise wear enough clothing to stay warm. Instead, they're wearing miniskirts and to the extent they may be intoxicated, they're loosing heat even faster.

These girls are cold and if they felt "safe" on that bus, they'd have been on it -- and the boys right along with them.

The fact they preferred to walk home instead speaks volumes.

The Evil Dr. Ed said...

All of you, with the possible exception of Larry, who would say, drunk or sober, innocent or guilty of something, you were comfortable in the presence of a cop at the age of 20, please raise your hand.

Tom, it's a lot worse than even this. Relations between the students and the APD/UMPD are worse than the relations between the LAPD and the residents of South Central LA were -- just before the Rodney King riots.

It's not just young person & police -- it's far worse. Far worse.

All it's going to take is a spark and things are going to get really bad really fast.

After the incidents at Kent & Jackson State, President Richard Nixon (no supporter of college protesters) assembled a commission to look into the matter -- and there were several high-ranking military people on it. I am sorta thinking that these folk were kinda coming from a certain political perspective -- so when they blamed the colleges and not the hippies, that caught my attention.

Those same things exist now. All it is going to take is a spark -- a mistake, something stupid, something mispercieved and the whole thing will go bang badly.

Imagine this: An intoxicated young lady falls out of her high heels (maybe with ice involved) and a police officer does what any decent police officer would do -- tries to catch her. But instead he also falls and some bystander snaps a picture of this.

The prudent officer calls for both an ambulance and his supervisor -- both of which roll with lights & siren, attracting lots of attention. Concurrent with this, the picture is going out over various forms of social media with a tagline of "Cops Beat Up on Girl" (or worse) and it gets forwarded & expanded upon -- exponentially.

Exactly whom would either the town or university have with enough credibility for the students to even listen to? I can't think of a single person who wouldn't make things worse.

Anonymous said...

Ed, it's time to change your aluminum foil hat.

Anonymous said...

The amount of insight is inversely proportional to the length of the comment.

Anonymous said...

Ed, we could use even fewer words to refute your entire theory.

Anonymous said...

Ed, what exactly will it take to get you to sue someone? Please give me a verbatim statement that I can copy and paste on the comment section of a website that will push you over the edge to finally put your money where your keyboard fingers are. Example: Ed Cutting is a member of NAMBLA.


Kris, UMass 2011

The Evil Dr. Ed said...

Ed, we could use even fewer words to refute your entire theory.

I don't see you doing it, though.

All I see is you attacking me personally -- which tells me that you have no other response.

And say what you want about aluminum foil hats, you were aware of today's solar storm, weren't you? :)

Anonymous said...

And more words of insanity from the dear Dr. Insaneo.
Do keep up the great work, the folder is getting thicker every day.

The Evil Dr. Ed said...

Do keep up the great work, the folder is getting thicker every day.

Every time you add to it, the statute of limitations gets extended. And the potential damages expanded.

Just sayin....

And in case you are wondering, it isn't fear or even concern but curiosity -- at this point, I am nothing but curious.

Sheer morbid curiosity -- I know that these files (which "officially" do not even exist) are nothing more than the paranoid delusional fantasies of individuals who themselves have serious psychiatric problems -- but like the morbidly curious desire to see the bloody wreckage of a bad car accident, I really am curious as to what exactly is in the folder.

Besides, I can quote it in my book -- I already have some incredibly hilarious stuff, but can always use more...