Last Friday, the Binghamton University Student Association (SA) announced the reopening of the Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) Late Nite bus service.
The decision to reinstate Late Nite comes after a several-week suspension of the service in response to numerous student misconduct incidents — which occurred at the OCCT bus stop on the intersection of State Street and Hawley Street. During the temporary closure, the SA and OCCT staff worked together to form a long-term solution to stop recurring student misbehavior. The solution includes placing barricades and having more police officers at the downtown bus stops.
Students can expect new rule additions from when Late Nite services were last operating, according to the SA’s statement. One of the changes includes moving the bus stop to Parlor City Commons to ensure that less students will overcrowd and cut lines when boarding the bus.
“All buses will now stop and pick up passengers from Hawley Street beside the courtyard immediately behind Stone Fox,” the SA wrote in an Instagram statement. “Barricades with a distinct queue area will also be placed at this stop.”
Furthermore, the SA and OCCT announced they will be cooperating with both the New York State University Police Department (UPD) and Binghamton Police Department (BPD) officers to guarantee that students adhere to the newly established rules.
“Both BU police officers and the [BPD] will be on the scene to keep everyone safe,” the SA wrote. “Trained OCCT Late Nite staff will also be present at the stops to assist with crowd control.”
OCCT staff has had to deal with overcrowding issues throughout the semester, but decided to make a permanent change following numerous incidents of antagonistic student behavior on Halloween weekend, according to the SA.
Daniel Croce, chairman and chief financial officer for OCCT, SA vice president for finance and a junior majoring in business administration, said that the impact of recent disorderly conduct on OCCT staff and other passengers was one of the main reasons behind implementing the rule changes.
“The disruptions to service were caused by unruly passenger behavior when boarding the bus,” Croce wrote in an email. “This behavior was targeted against both the officers at the scene and drivers, and posed significant safety risks for not just OCCT staff but other passengers as well.”
The most recent suspension of the service marks the third time OCCT has been suspended this semester. Alex Lewyn, a senior majoring in economics, said he thinks student behavior on the buses worsened in the semesters during COVID-19.
“At first during [COVID-19] I noticed drivers struggling with smaller issues such as getting students to wear masks on the bus,” Lewyn said. “Then, it became a bigger problem on the weekends with everyone pushing each other in line to get on the Late Nite buses.”
HanChen Liu, a sophomore majoring in accounting, described how the recent suspension of Late Nite services has impacted him on weekends.
“I live off campus and since the Late Nite buses were not running these past weeks, it was hard for my friends on campus to take the bus to my place on the weekends,” Liu wrote in an email. “I am happy to see the buses resume at these times, and hopefully the schedule can be consistent now.”
The SA has warned that further instances of disorderly conduct from students could lead to a permanent termination of Late Nite services. Croce has called for continued student compliance in the interest of keeping the buses running.
“Myself and all employees at OCCT have one mission — to get students home and around the Binghamton area safely,” Croce wrote in an email. “I continue to encourage all students to respect staff members, buses and the service. We will get you home safely, and we are truly in this together!”