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Duke students sound off on bus-tracking app in DSG survey presented to Senate

A Duke Student Government survey suggests that Duke students aren’t satisfied with the Rider app and on-campus outdoor Wi-Fi. 

Sophomore Tommy Hessel, senator for campus life, and first-year Shrey Majmudar, senator for academic affairs, presented the survey results at Wednesday’s DSG Senate meeting.

More than 200 students—nearly half of them first-years—completed the survey.

Among a variety of "academic" services—Sakai, Rider and DukeHub, among others—the Transloc Rider app to track campus buses received more than three times more "dissatisfied" and "very dissatisfied" responses than any other service.

“We’re going to be looking at how to improve this," Majmudar said. "This was definitely our most….overall negative response out of the entire survey."

Many comments from students on the survey complained that the app was not accurate in displaying estimated arrival times for buses.

"Rider should actually work," one survey comment included in the presentation said.

The company responded to the survey in an email to The Chronicle Friday morning.

“Feedback like this is really valuable and we’ll continue working with our partners at Duke’s Parking and Transportation Services to find optimal solutions for Duke students and riders,” wrote Ron Cygnarowicz, Transloc's vice president of customers, in an email. “We take rider feedback very seriously and we respond quickly to tickets generated to us by Parking and Transportation Services."

The company's engineering team is working to improve dispatch processes now, "which will alert dispatchers and operators when there is an issue, so they can quickly take corrective action when vehicles are early, delayed, or off route," according to Cygnarowicz.

As for on-campus internet, Hessel said the survey's overall responses tended towards neutral or satisfied. However, outdoor internet service dipped, with the highest number of responses tallied for "dissatisfied." 

“A lot of the dissatisfaction with the Wi-Fi came with not being able to use it outdoors. That was one of the big takeaways I had,” Hessel said. “If you could fix one thing, connectivity outside or on the bus or walking to classes was one thing I saw throughout the survey.”

On the other hand, students in the survey gave at least a plurality of “satisfied” responses with regards to Sakai, DukeHub, Duke Mobile, ePrint, Duke Box and Duke Email. Most people don’t know about mobile ePrint, Majmudar added. 

After mobile DukeCard use for Apple devices was launched in October, most iPhone mobile Duke Card users reported being "very satisfied" with their user experience. 

In other business: 

The Senate approved the allocation of thousands of dollars in Student Organization Finance Committee funding. SOFC will grant $3,300 toward supporting the Asian Students Association's "The Blasian Project," a "multi-media 'Docu-Theatre' project." 

It also granted $2,900 for Duke Diya’s semiformal and $5,400 for a speaker event hosted by the Program II Majors' Union, chartered the Duke Association for the Middle East and recognized Harmonies for Health, Duke Sleight Club and Duke Raas.

The Senate also passed a temporary measure to regulate constitutional amendment referenda following the Senate's approval of an amendment. 

The statute, introduced by President Pro Tempore Avery Boltwood, a junior, would allow the president pro tempore to direct the Attorney General to open a referendum vote at a date and length dictated by the president pro tempore, who could also "extend the voting period at any point." 

The Senate also confirmed sophomore Jack Simmons III as Legislative Assistant. 


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