It’s the same old story...
Student waits for bus in pouring rain.
Bus never comes.
Student is late for class.
Student writes angry letter to people in charge of bus.
Student gets same old response.
“Sorry you missed it. Better luck next time.”
Every year that I have attended RIT, I have been the above student. Whether it’s a bus that never comes, being fined for parking in “20 minute” spots or bartering for parking passes, I have spent more time battling with Parking and Transportation Services (PATS) than I have needed to.
Most recently, I had to argue the fact that the website states apartment shuttles come every ten minutes. It took a shuttle 43 minutes to arrive at UC West last week. While I did write an email stating my anger toward the situation, I think it’s safe to say I was ready to receive the same old response I’ve always received.
The response starts out with an assessment of the situation and then suggests a solution that slightly insults you: “Get to the bus stop earlier,” “You should know by now you have to have your flashers on,” or “It’s not our fault it was raining.” The email will conclude with an attached bus schedule or a link to a web page with the parking regulations. Unfortunately, that tends to either create more anger or lead to people just giving up. However, there should be some good old-fashioned understanding... for both sides.
PATS has to deal with more people, paperwork and used automobiles then I ever will in my entire life. They have to plan bus routes, accommodate commuters, find ways to stop people pretending to be commuters, deal with emails from angry students, and patrol parking lots A-Z on a daily basis.
That’s not an easy thing to do.
On the other side of the spectrum, students need to have a reliable system of transportation. Ideally, we need a system that works and is able to fix itself when a problem arises. There’s a lot of money being spent on tuition and parking fines aren’t included in that. There are a lot of people who need to drive to class when they have too much to carry. There are a lot of people afraid to say anything because they think they won’t be heard. This needs to change.
PATS is not evil. They just want you to voice your opinion. They want to make it better, but that can’t happen without some communication.
I state my opinion every time something isn’t right because this is my campus and I live here. I engage those in charge because they need to hear when something is wrong.
The old saying goes that “you can’t fight city hall.” The same goes for “you can’t fix something when you don’t know it’s broken.”
Parking isn’t exactly broken. It just limps every now and then. I assume that kind of thing happens when thousands of people are running speed limits and parking on the grass. While it has its flaws, it isn’t remaining static about them either. The website, as of this week, is no longer advertising the ten minute shuttle service, which is something I may or may not have had a play in. While that’s only a small change, it’s still change.
I think days of being pissed off at PATS aren’t over. I’m sure something next year will land me back in the office, yet I know now there are other ways to state my discontent. There are ways to give up the fight without giving up your faith that one day this complex system will work. There will be a day when I’ll be able to stand at a bus stop in the pouring rain and know it isn’t PATS’s fault that I’m drenched from the feet up.
Then again, shouldn’t there be some sort of terminal to avoid that all together?
I’ll let you write that email... and I really hope you will.