Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) says it reserves the right to suspend OCCT Late Nite services if students continue to mistreat their employees and property.
OCCT Late Nite services run buses to and from campus into Downtown Binghamton, Johnson City and other residential and commercial areas for students and Binghamton University employees. The last weekend of August, OCCT Late Nite reported dealing with passengers being abusive or disrespectful to drivers and refusing to wear face masks. OCCT buses require passengers to wear a face mask while on the bus.
Steven Iannone, a sophomore majoring in chemistry, expressed concern over the treatment of OCCT drivers.
“This unfortunately seems to be part of a recently emerging pattern of people causing problems for the fun of it,” Iannone said. “Bus drivers are being harassed over enforcing face masks even though it’s just a part of their job. It really is a shame.”
Jake Abrams, ‘20 and public relations coordinator for OCCT, reminded passengers that federal transportation COVID-19 safety regulations require all passengers using public and mass transit systems to comply with mask mandates. He thanked passengers who have complied with the current rules for COVID-19 safety, but mentioned a possible suspension of OCCT Late Nite if misconduct continues.
“First and foremost, the health and safety of our drivers, passengers and the Binghamton University community is paramount to us here at OCCT,” Abrams wrote in an email. “Mistreating or taking advantage of OCC Transport drivers, monitors, employees and/or properties will not be tolerated. If examples of these unfortunate situations continue to occur, OCC Transport Late Nite service is subject to suspension until future notice.”
OCCT buses are state-owned and fall under the same mask mandate as campus buildings. BU’s policy on wearing masks indoors can be found on the University website under the Fall Guidance ‘21 tab.
The policy states that “all persons on campus, regardless of their vaccination status, [must] wear a mask when indoors. This includes classrooms, hallways, libraries, common spaces and offices, as well as buses and shuttles.”
Passengers not wearing a face covering that fully covers their nose and mouth will not be allowed on OCCT buses. If a passenger removes their face covering while on the bus, the bus driver will park the bus and instruct the passenger to get off.
A thread on the r/BinghamtonUniversity subreddit has been created with an anonymous report of passenger mistreatment toward OCCT Late Nite services. Some students on the subreddit believed that Late Nite services should be suspended to combat the spread of COVID-19 and to prevent classes from being moved online again. Other students disagreed, saying they need the OCCT Late Nite services to transport them on and off campus for reasons other than socializing, including getting back from work.
John Bravo, a junior majoring in geology, agreed students should wear their masks to avoid Late Nite services being canceled.
“Like, honey, we get you don’t like wearing a mask, but you’re going to hate $100 per mile Uber fares more, so pick your poison,” Bravo said.