This semester, Off Campus College Transport (OCCT) has reinstated its no-standing policy, which will be effective Friday and Saturday night after midnight. During this time, students will not be able to stand in the aisles of buses; only the number of students who are able to be seated will be allowed to board. This provision has been in effect on and off during OCCT’s history.
Although the Editorial Board acknowledges that this will make the buses safer when transporting students back to campus after they have spent time drinking on State Street, we are concerned for the students who will be left behind both in Downtown Binghamton and on the West Side when there isn’t enough space for everyone to board the buses.
Currently, OCCT said they have no plans to run additional buses to compensate. Each bus seats approximately 36 students, and we estimate that there is usually space for about 20 students to stand. This means that with each bus that brings students back to campus, there will still be a significant number of students left Downtown.
These students will be forced to either wait for the next bus, or find another way back to campus, which usually involves some sort of monetary expense. Of course, cabs might be available, along with ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, but these services should not be required.
However, the OCCT buses come at no additional cost to students, while other transportation options can become expensive. Students rely on this service in terms of safety and convenience, and hundreds of students who are trying to get back to campus will need to find other ways of doing so.
We question whether or not this puts students’ safety in jeopardy by giving them fewer opportunities to make it back to campus safely and easily.
It is the University’s responsibility to transport as many students back to campus as it brings Downtown. This bus service is in place for a reason. While we acknowledge that the policy is for students’ safety, it also ignores students’ safety in a different capacity. The University must compensate with additional buses for the number of students who will potentially be stranded Downtown after missing the last bus of the night, and who will not be able to pay for a ride home.
We understand that OCCT and the University must adjust their policies sometimes. However, while some students will be safer, other students might be placed in more danger. The University must account for this disconnect and provide additional buses during these times.