As Marquette University tries to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines, students are losing out on easy access to transportation around campus. This year, Marquette stopped running the regular LIMO services unless students are going off campus to the Amtrak Station or an off campus apartment, such as Eleven25 at Pabst. Instead, students have to use coach-sized buses called GoRiteWay Buses. With this change, students have to wait in front of their building for the bus to make its rounds, whereas with the regular LIMO services, students could call the service number and it would pick them up at their location. There are three buses that run through campus.
This new bus system is less convenient and may be harmful to students’ safety and well-being.
Marquette emphasizes how much it values students’ safety on campus. The university has signs up about walking in groups and reporting any suspicious activity around residence halls. There are also “Blue Lights” up in case a student needs to alert Marquette University Police Department of any suspicious activity or if they don’t feel safe. MUPD also has an emergency and non-emergency number that students can utilize.
However, Marquette has changed these rules. Before COVID-19, there were about 13 LIMOs roaming campus each night that would start in the evening at 5 p.m. and run late into the night around 3 a.m. on weekdays and 4 a.m. on weekends. Large buses replaced LIMOs this school year and unfortunately, this new system is not as convenient or safe for students.
Students often have to wait outside in order for a GoRiteWay bus to make its rounds, rather than being able to call the LIMO service number and get picked up. This new system may put students’ safety at risk, as waiting for the GoRiteWay bus may make them more susceptible to on-campus crimes like robbery that occur frequently.
Furthermore, if students don’t feel comfortable waiting for a GoRiteWay bus to make its rounds, they may decide to walk home. This can be dangerous, as walking in hazardous weather conditions, especially during the winter months, can cause students to easily slip on ice or become sick from the harsh cold weather.
Student safety should be Marquette’s number one priority. It would be more beneficial for students’ safety and comfort to have an accessible mode of transportation.
Marquette should go back to utilizing the door-to-door LIMO services so that students can feel more comfortable about getting picked up sooner and won’t have to wait in extreme weather conditions.
By still having the LIMOs running, the university could support more student workers, as having more vans running would allow more student drivers to be employed.
Additionally, having more LIMO vans compared to fewer GoRiteWay buses could help decrease the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Even if GoRiteWay buses enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines, like social distancing and wearing a mask, while on the buses, students are still in an enclosed space for a longer period of time.
Marquette should consider reinstating the traditional LIMO services. The university can still enforce limited capacity in the LIMOs, such as only allowing a single rider. Additionally, the traditional LIMO vans could enforce face masks and have students show their COVID Cheqs prior to getting on. Having one passenger compared to multiple on the GoRiteWay buses could help limit student-to-student contact.
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee is operating both GoRiteWay buses as well as its regular shuttle service called the Prowl Line. Prowl Line shuttles are limited to 25% capacity and students must social distance and wear face masks.
Marquette should do something similar. By reinstating the traditional LIMO services, the university could support students by prioritizing their safety, health and well-being on campus.
This story was written by Krisha Patel. She can be reached at email@example.com