Doing the Shuttle Shuffle
by Dani Tamcsin
Despite how the NAU campus is only 1.5 miles north to south and .7 miles east to west, sometimes it feels impossible to get between classes in the 20 minutes allotted. Trying to rush between buildings, push their way onto the shuttle and speed walk while still looking cool is a new challenge for many freshmen. To calm some of those fears, some upperclassmen have graciously shared their advice and experiences for this year’s newest Lumberjacks.
Scott Tillinghast, a sophomore criminal justice and history major. Due to his double major, Tillinghast frequently has to go between south and north campus through the day. Even though he owns a car, he usually utilizes campus services to get around campus.
“I have had a car in Flagstaff for several months,” Tillinghast says, “but I still usually walk or take the bus to save myself some gas money.”
Tillinghast also takes advantage of Parking and Shuttle Services’ new technology to makes the transit easier.
“If you are using one of the buses, get the NAU transit application so you can immediately know where the buses are, he says.”
Maddy Cypert, a junior political science major, also uses the shuttle application to gauge whether to hop on the bus, and has learned a few tricks to beat the lines or avoid waiting too long at the bus stop.
“I use the shuttle quite frequently, but it’s usually pretty busy, and is not always the quickest or healthiest way to get around,” Cypert says. “My advice for freshman is to be smart about getting around. I check the shuttle app and decide based on the location of the shuttle and how many people are at the stop if it would be quicker to move bus stops (say from SBS to the stop by the DuB and Health Sciences), or if it would be quicker to stay, or just walk.”
Along with staying smart about campus transportation, Cypert also has a few etiquette tips for new students.
“Don’t be an aggressive jerk and shove your way onto the bus! And, most importantly, men should always be willing to give their seat up for a lady of any age,” Cypert says.
While the importance of shuttle-chivalry may be up for debate, most upperclassmen share one idea: The shuttle isn’t your only option. Cody Williams, a senior exercise science major, who works for Parking and Shuttle Services, offers alternatives.
“It’s not always necessary to ride the shuttle,” Williams says. “I would recommend that they explore all of the transit services that NAU offers, like Louie Line, Mountain Link [and] Yellow Bikes. A lot of students ride their bikes, long board or just walk around campus. I usually walk and I ride my bike occasionally.”
Madeline Dwyer is a senior business management major. While Parking and Shuttle Services sometimes gets a bad rap, Madeline’s most important piece of advice is to remember that NAU is providing a great service to students.
“It is normally pretty fast, and is really nice to have especially when we are experiencing unfavorable weather,” Dwyer says. “And don’t forget, if you don’t like the shuttle system, you can always walk or ride your bike!”
Williams is familiar with students’ frustrations with Parking and Shuttle Services, but he hopes to discourage new students from sharing those feelings. “I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that our department is “money hungry” and that we make up reasons to give tickets. People have also said that we target certain individuals, which just isn’t true,” Williams says. “The coolest services that [we] offer are motorist assistance and the TransLoc application, which shows when the next bus is coming. I think only about 25 percent of students know about motorist assistance, and 10 percent know about TransLoc application on the NAU mobile app.”
NAU motorist assistance is free to anyone on campus, whether they are a student. They provide jump-starts, help with lockouts, assist people stuck in the snow and will even provide a gallon of gas if you run out on campus.
Sophomore international affairs major, Bianca Bulaga, often uses another convenient service for students, free access to the Flagstaff Mountain Link.
“I love it! It’s free and gets me anywhere I need to go in Flag,” Bulaga says. “My best piece of advice for freshmen is to leave yourself a good amount of time to get around, especially when there’s bad weather. And don’t ride your bikes when it’s icy!”
Hopefully, these recommendations from fellow Lumberjacks will help to expedite transportation around campus and Flagstaff for the class of 2016. One freshman, Kaitlynne Piepiora, has already taken full advantage of her options at NAU.
“I have used both the Louie Line and the Rapid Ride,” Piepiora says. “Both were very accessible, easy to understand and to use, and both make it easy to live on campus but be able explore the city of Flagstaff as well!”