Safety Shuttle Serves as Popular Mode of Transport for Students

Nadia Shahab Diaz ’21, Staff Writer

Students have expressed appreciation for the safety shuttle. The Dickinson Safety Shuttle is advertised on the Dickinson website as a free service that operates every night on a regular route, stopping at many different locations on campus and Carlisle’s local Walmart, with additional shuttles on Friday and Saturday nights. 

According to Chief of Public Safety Dolores (Dee) Danser, the Safety Shuttle was started in the Fall of 2010 as part of a conversation with students, Student Senate and the Gray Hats, members of Dickinson’s honorary society The Order of the Scroll and Key. She said that the “purpose of the shuttle [was] to provide transportation after dark to areas on campus frequented by students so that no one has to walk alone,” and provided that the Gray Hats actually helped recruit the original pool of student drivers.

Danser explained that the shuttle first started running from 9 pm to 3 am, as suggested by students, since “the later hours were specifically geared to times students may be leaving the library at closing time or may be leaving other late-night establishments. Over the past year or so… [the starting time has moved up], at 7:00 p.m. right now at the request of students to more closely align to the time it gets dark. The starting time of the shuttle will likely be even earlier once the time changes this fall.”

The Safety Shuttle is busiest on Fridays and Saturdays, with the number of riders generally ranging from 9,000 – 11,000, according to Danser. She provided that, last academic year, 9,948 students used the Safety Shuttle.  

Aya Salim ’20 said that the Safety Shuttle is the “best thing ever! It’s so useful and accessible,” particularly for students who cannot or do not have their own cars on campus. 

However, other students have expressed frustration about how the shuttle schedule is distributed.  Talya Lubit ’22 found the schedule for the Safety Shuttle’s stop times to be very confusing, recounting a time during the week in which she went by stop times that she was later told by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) are only used on the weekends. 

When it comes to making changes to the Safety Shuttle, DPS takes feedback from students; Danser notes that this feedback has resulted in earlier starting times, changes in the route, and the addition of a second shuttle on weekends. With that said however, [DPS has] a limited budget for operation” and must always keep that in mind when making changes.

Abby Israel ’20, a driver for the shuttle said that shifts run from 12:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m.-12:00 a.m. Israel explained that “The times the shuttle runs are designed to keep students safe after dark. I’d say the only thing I’d change is having it run to 2:00 a.m. instead of 3:00 a.m. on school nights because the library closes at 2 so students aren’t going to be running around campus after that.”

The official Dickinson website details that the Safety Shuttle runs seven days a week between 7 pm and 3 am when school is in session.