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Transportation staffing issue causes students to scramble to get to West Campus for final exams

Several first-year students were forced to find creative ways to get to West Campus for their 9 a.m. final exams Dec. 11 after realizing they were going to be late because C1 buses were not running reliably that morning.

According to the Duke Parking and Transportation Services website, on Saturdays and Sundays, the first C1 bus departs East Campus at 8:30 a.m. in the morning. The second bus departs from East Campus at 8:50 a.m. and is scheduled to arrive at West Campus at 8:57 a.m., just three minutes before the start of the first final exam period at 9 a.m.

First-year Perrin Myerson set several alarms to make sure he would be awake with plenty of time to get to West Campus. Myerson got up at 7:45 a.m. and was at the bus stop by Gilbert-Addoms dorm at 8:10 a.m., expecting the bus service to start earlier than the usual weekend schedule. He waited at the stop for about 10 minutes before texting his friends and asking them if they knew why a bus hadn’t arrived.

Transportation Administrator Elizabeth Campbell wrote in an email to The Chronicle that a staffing issue led to no bus departing from East Campus at 8:30 a.m. 

While waiting, Myerson checked the TransLoc bus app, which failed to function properly. He waited for half an hour longer, concluding then that he wouldn’t make it to his final if he continued to wait for a bus. This prompted him to rent a scooter to ride to West Campus, which ended up not working as he had hoped. 

Campbell also wrote that TransLoc was “out of service on Saturday morning due to a technical problem” and that the issue was fixed around 9:25 a.m.

“I was like, ‘What’s going on?’” Myerson said. “I don’t even think I’ll make it on time to class. So I went up and got a scooter and started the scooter. But for some reason, you can't scooter on certain parts of Duke campuses, because it’s like a slow zone.” 

Myerson said that he was able to ride his scooter through the tunnel underneath the East Campus bridge. Then, it stopped working and he began walking towards the Arts Annex. After he realized that he was still a considerable distance from West Campus, he decided to wait by the Arts Annex.

“​​I had been walking for a bit to the Arts Annex and I checked [my phone] that said I was 1.2 miles away,” said Myerson. “And I was like, ‘I'm not making it in time. My best bet would just be to wait.’”

Fortunately, Myerson’s friends who were headed to the same exam and were also unable to ride the C1 drove by. 

“So they pulled up and said, ‘Get in the back.’ I got in the back and hopped in the trunk and laid down,” Myerson said.

First-year Perrin Myerson had to lay in the trunk of his friend's car to get to his final exam. Photo courtesy of Perrin Myerson.
First-year Perrin Myerson had to lay in the trunk of his friend's car to get to his final exam. Photo courtesy of Perrin Myerson.

Myerson said he ended up being 20 minutes late and that nearly everyone in his class was also late due to the lack of buses, which made the explanation to his professor easier. 

First-year Dani Tejada also planned to take the C1 bus to get to her final Dec. 11. It took a text from her friend, asking how she was going to get to her final exam, to check the bus schedule.

“I went online to check to see one schedule and it said that they started at 8:30 on Saturdays and Sunday, which I already found cutting kind of close if finals start at 9 a.m.,” Tejada said. 

She decided to head to the bus stop to catch the first bus of the morning. At 8:30 a.m., given the lack of a bus and the large crowd of students at the East Campus bus stop, she decided to order an Uber to get to West Campus.  

“The bus stop was filled with what had to be like 100 people. [There were] no buses [and there was] nothing on the app,” Tejada said. “So I was like, ‘I can’t miss my final,’ so I had to book an Uber.” 

After canceling and rebooking Ubers to find the ride with the least waiting time, Tejada was able to get to West Campus by 8:50 a.m, making it to her exam just in time. It cost her $13.95 for the trip.

Like Myerson, Tejada said that the majority of students in her class were unable to take the C1.

“The entirety of my Chinese class had to get there some other way,” Tejada said. “I think pretty much anyone who had a final Saturday at 9 a.m. had had to find some other way to get to West Campus.”

Campbell wrote that the bus issue occurred because a substitute driver needed to be called in for the route, delaying the standard weekend C1 schedule.

“Our standard fall weekend C1 route was scheduled to depart East Campus at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, but due to a staffing issue that morning, a substitute driver had to be called in for the route,” Campbell wrote. “We understand the stress this situation may have caused students who had exams that morning, and we have taken steps to reduce the likelihood of such disruptions in service in the future.”


Adway S. Wadekar | University News Editor

Adway S. Wadekar is a Trinity sophomore and a university news editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume. He has also contributed to the sports section.

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