The 2018 Fall semester has seen an increase in passengers using the CATS Late Night Shuttle Service.
Last Fall Semester, there were 782 passengers, while there have already been 2,793 passengers so far this year.
As of Sept. 16, the CATS Late Night service runs Sundays. Ohio University changed the schedule after receiving feedback about safety on campus.
The shuttle service is a free service for all students, faculty and staff. It is designed to provide a safe means of transportation across campus.
Dan Pittman, a university spokesman, said the average request is fulfilled within 10 and 15 minutes.
Last weekend, the CATS Late Night service successfully provided 365 rides. On average, the busiest day of the week is Friday with about 138 riders. The slowest day is Monday with an average of 66 riders, Pittman said in an email.
Since CATS Late Night service has only been available for one Sunday, there were 46 passengers on Sept. 21.
There are three different types of university vehicles that the CATS Late Night service uses: SUVs, shuttles and sedans. SUVs can hold six passengers, shuttles can hold 14 passengers and sedans can hold up to four passengers.
“(OU’s) Transportation and Parking Services team recently increased the service’s resources, including additional drivers and an additional dispatcher to triage calls, in an effort to accommodate growing demand,” Pittman said in an email.
However, students are still upset about the availability of the shuttle. Tessa Helfer, a freshman studying journalism, said she calls to request a ride across campus during the week and is usually unable to get one.
“It was going to be an hour and 40 minutes,” Helfer said. “That was the most extreme case, and that was during the first week of school.”
Helfer said she and her friends would call multiple times before anyone answered. She said she thinks the CATS Late Night service should have a more productive and functional system.
Rebecca Harhai, a freshman studying journalism, has faced similar issues when requesting a ride.
“They usually answer either on the first or second call, but once we called about 5 times and never got an answer,” Harhai said in an email. “All of us called on each of our phones, but still there was no answer.”
Harhai said, in her experience, the wait time for the service is expected to be about an hour. She has requested the service both on the weekends and during weeknights and was unable to get a ride.
“I didn't know they weren't open seven days a week beforehand,” Helfer said. “Safety should always be like the university's top priority, so I'm glad they're finally doing more to handle it.”
CATS Late Night service is now available seven days a week from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m. Students, faculty and staff can call or text for a ride at 740-593-4040.