JSU Institutional Support Services, the University Police Department and the Office of Public Relations thank you for your comments and questions concerning the Gamecock Express (GX), and for your continued patience during the transit system implementation. Please be assured that although we have many comments and questions at this time, we are addressing each concern as quickly as possible. Please visit the GX link on the JSU home page often for the latest information. Again, we appreciate your patience.
Q. Let's start with the most prevalent question. Do we really need a campus transit system?
A. We have a good problem at JSU. We are growing! Increased enrollment brings many new opportunities for the students on our campus; however, it also presents some challenges, such as a need for more parking and better traffic flow to get everyone to class on time. Although we possibly could have delayed getting a transit system a little longer, we realized a few years ago that it was inevitable and we began planning for it. By taking advantage of federal transportation money currently available, we were able to spare some of the expense of purchasing buses AND put the system in place while we still have enough flexibility to fine-tune it before we outgrow our current infrastructure.
Q. If the buses are being offered as a service to JSU students and staff why are they also available to non-JSU individuals? Is the city contributing to a fund that covers fuel and maintenance costs?
A. It is really a matter of efficiency for our students first, then a matter of public service and environmental responsibility. While it's true that the bus service is designed as a service to JSU students and staff, since the buses running the city routes will require the same amount of fuel and maintenance regardless of who is riding them, why not offer a ride to the citizens of Jacksonville and do our part for the environment? At this time, very few citizens are riding the blue route. According to Joe Whitmore, director of Institutional Support Services, on the first day only four non-JSU citizens boarded the GX on the blue route. If the number of city riders increases substantially, of course we will look for new ways to fund the resulting increase in operating costs. As it stands, the system will cost us the same whether we transport 30 students on a bus or 30 students plus two extras.
Q. Why is there no more parking on Trustee Circle?
A. The decision to eliminate parking on Trustee Circle was made during the summer, in the interest of safety. Congestion along the circle creates poor visibility for students attempting to board and exit the GX. In lieu of the Trustee Circle parking, more spaces were created in nearby locations.
Q. What about those painted curbs? My decal is orange but the only curb I can find that is remotely close to orange is red. What gives?
A. Those colorful red and blue curbs are leftovers from the old system and, at this time, there are no plans to repaint the curbs. Instead, drivers should look for signs that match the decal or hangtag assigned to their vehicles to determine where they may park. Signs will identify all zoned parking. Please note that at this time, sign crews are out and about on campus, moving signs when necessary and making adjustments to better define the parking areas. Also, drivers are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their assigned zones by viewing the parking zone map located at http://www.jsunews.com/uploadedFiles/Parking.pdf
Q. I got a ticket on the first day of class but I thought no tickets were going to be written for two weeks! Why?
A. Per UPD Chief Shawn Giddy, no tickets will be issued for students parking in the wrong zone during the first two weeks of the academic year. This is to allow ample time for faculty, staff and students to purchase/obtain their decals. However, any vehicle parking illegally in a handicapped space, on a yellow curb or on Trustee Circle during this grace period WILL be ticketed. No exceptions. Effective September 9, 2009, ALL parking regulations-including zoned parking-will be strictly enforced.
Q. Why can't there be parking for all colors near the halls? Or at least in the large parking lots like the one near Stone Center?
A. Because the majority of our students are commuters, we knew that we would need a large area for commuter parking. The logical areas were the large lots located around Stone Center and the Library. Because we wanted campus residents to have the best possible parking at their residence halls, and because they spend more hours in the campus' central core, it was logical to park residents near their housing.
Q. What if you also work on campus, such as at the Cafeteria? Is there designated parking for student employees?
A. Parking rules for working on campus will not change under the new system. You may park in any lot for which you have a parking decal or tag.
Q. When we go to visit friends in the dorm halls or for special events where are we supposed to park?
A. You may park in any lot for which you have a parking decal or tag.
Q. How are we to know where to board the buses?
A. Until the system is 'broken in,' the scheduled stops will continue to be fine-tuned. Once the stops are well established, permanent signage will be put in place. For now, it is recommended that riders consult the route maps for currently scheduled stops, look for the temporary signage and gather as close as possible to those stops.
Q. I think it's a great idea for the buses. However, I did hear that you could look on your phone (internet), and it could show you where the buses would be. Is that true, or is it in the works?
A. Yes! The TransLoc system will be available soon! Please look for an announcement in MyJSU or on the JSU Homepage announcing its arrival.
Q. Will the evening students be required to park in designated areas or will the parking enforcement end at 4:30 pm?
A. Please read the University Police Department's parking regulations for a complete answer to your question:
Please reference section VIII. Definitions, specifically section O if you are faculty/ staff or N if you're a commuter.
Q. What if I want to suggest a new stop on the route?
A. According to Whitmore, during the week of September 1, the University's Transportation Committee will meet to create a process for consideration of stop suggestions. This will likely be an online form that will be accessible from the JSU website. Please check www.jsu.edu often for more information on this form.
Q. Is it true that you cannot carry book bags on the buses?
A. No. You may carry book bags on the bus, as well as musical instruments, groceries, art supplies or any other bulky item that can be reasonably transported. The buses have perimeter seating and a large open area in the center that should accommodate most large items, even tubas! Riders who regularly need to transport large quantities of groceries, books, etc., might find a rolling book bag or mini-cart handy. These, too, are allowed on the buses.
Q. What is the approximate time for the waits in between bus stops?
A. The on-campus buses run on a continual and staggered basis. If you get to a stop and there is no bus in sight, the next one should be along within five to seven minutes or so. The city (blue) route is on a 30-35 minute cycle.
Q. The Jacksonville News said that there would be bike racks on the buses. Is this true?
A. Yes. The buses contain both bike and wheelchair racks.
Q. What if you are a JSU student but you live off campus. Could you still park your car and ride the bus?
A. Yes. Please refer to the JSU homepage for the most up-to-date schedule for the city (blue) route.
Q. A large number of Education students use the local schools for their field placements. It would be very helpful if the 'Blue' route had stops at both Kitty Stone Elementary and Jacksonville High.
A. Thank you for your suggestion. We appreciate your feedback and will consider any proposed improvements.
Q. Will there be a route for JSU Gadsden?
A. At this time, the GX runs only in Jacksonville.
Q. Are there covered areas where you wait for the bus?
There will not be any covered bus stops initially in the Gamecock Express system. The reason for this is that we anticipate the stops needing to be adjusted or moved to find the best and most convenient locations. We would not want to build a covered bus stop only to find out later it would be better suited half a block away. As the system becomes effective and the permanent stops are identified, the Transportation Committee will review the possibility of constructing shelters.
Q. Are the people who live on campus expected to leave their cars at the dorms and ride the trolleys everywhere? I ask this because I live off campus.
There will be adequate parking for each zone. The buses will actually make it easier because the stops will not make it as necessary to be right beside any particular building. The buses will be running in close enough intervals that with proper planning, being late to class should not be an issue.
Q. If we are allowing people to board the buses off campus, how will we prevent persons from following students onto the buses and to their dorms? Shouldn't students be required to show their IDs to ride the GX?
A. Rest assured that JSU is committed to safety on the GX and we will do everything within our power to keep our students and employees safe. With this in mind, on the Yellow Route we will have persons in addition to the driver who will help monitor for suspicious riders and activity. The decision to not require students and employees to show their IDs was made for the convenience and benefit of the students trying to get to their destinations on time. On the flip side of the safety concern issue, the ongoing presence of buses in the campus parking lots at all hours of the day actually could be considered a security improvement, as there will be more eyes on the parking lots at all times. Our best advice for staying safe on the GX is the same as it is for students parking their cars and walking to their residence halls: pay attention to your surroundings at all times, travel in groups when possible, program your cell phone with an emergency number and keep it in your hand at all times when walking about, and educate yourself about the locations of campus emergency call boxes.
Q. I'm a handicapped student. What do I do?
A. We are committed to total accessibility for our students with special needs. If you need assistance boarding or riding the GX, please don't hesitate to ask for the driver's assistance. If you need help with parking accommodations, please contact the University Police Department at ext. 5050 or Disability Support Services at ext. 8380.