Student asks for Oakland route

Written By Hannah Johnston, Features/A&E Photo Editor

Twelve days before classes started, students living in Oakland received an email stating that shuttle services would no longer be available. Twelve days before classes started, we learned that we would have to pay $97.50 a month to pay for buses to and from school.

Yes, there were rumors during the 2017-2018 academic year that the Oakland route of the shuttles would be discontinued. However, the problem is that the commuters did not know the details of this until 12 days before school.

Students who reside in Oakland have been depending on this shuttle service for reliable transportation to and from school for years. I have been using the shuttles as my transportation to and from school since fall 2017.

Many people may be thinking, “Why don’t you just live closer to campus?” The rent of a studio or one-bedroom apartment in downtown is nearly double the cost of a similar apartment in Oakland. In my case, I had already re-signed my lease in October of 2018.  My lease for an apartment located in, you guessed it, Oakland.

When I first transferred to Point Park, one of the selling points for me was the shuttle service since I knew I would be living off-campus. I chose my apartment based on the shuttles running between Oakland and campus. It is to my understanding that the original intent of the shuttle route to Oakland was to bring COPA students to and from the Playhouse, which until last year was located in Oakland.

While this was the original intent of the Oakland route, many commuters also took advantage of this shuttle as transportation to campus. In addition to that, the administrators of Point Park are aware that a large number of commuters live in Oakland.

If you look on Point Park’s website under Commuter Resources, and look at the Renter’s Guide section, it lists places where students can look for housing. Next to Oakland it states, “where many Point Park Students live.” In fact, during my tour of campus in 2017, I was advised to live in Oakland by my tour guide because of the convenience of the Oakland shuttle route.

In an article published in the first issue of The Globe titled, “New shuttles receive mixed reception,” Dean of Students and Vice President of Student Affairs Keith Paylo was questioned in regard to this issue. Judging by some of his responses, it seems to me that he does not understand the number of students this change is affecting.

Dean Paylo and the administration of Point Park seem to be turning a blind eye to the commuters living in Oakland. As discussed in the article, there was a petition created titled, “Get Point Park’s shuttles back,” which at the time of publication had garnered the support and signatures of approx. 2,300 people. These are all people who are being affected by the Oakland route of the shuttle service being discontinued.

Paylo also stated that the new routes were to “assist the students in their daily lives.” I can say definitively that this change has negatively affected the daily lives of thousands of commuters. One example of these negative effects is that it has forced me to work more hours at my part-time job to cover the cost of transportation to and from school.

I believe I speak on behalf of many of my peers that the transportation services Point Park provides are extremely lacking. There is no parking lot owned by Point Park for commuters to park as many other colleges have. We only get discounted bus passes after 7 p.m., even though the school day is essentially over by that time.

When compared to other schools, Point Park is failing in this regard. For a school that, according to the 2018-2019 Point Park Fact Book, has a total of 3,058 commuters out of 4,099 total students, they seem to be caring very little for their largest population of students.

Dean Paylo and any other administration of Point Park who make decisions on transportation, I’m not asking for a U-Pass this semester. I’m just asking to get a shuttle route back to Oakland until there is an alternate transportation option for commuters living there. If you can have shuttles running every day to and from South Side in 30-minute intervals why can’t you just have those shuttles stop in Oakland?