New shuttle service making big "traxx" on Southeastern campus
Contact: Constance Woods
ALL ABOARD – Jennifer Lobue, a freshman biology major from Marrero, greets bus driver Larry Jackson as she boards “Lion Traxx,” Southeastern Louisiana University’s new shuttle service. Since it began rolling last month, the shuttle bus service has been a big hit with students.
HAMMOND – As many as 500 students in one day have taken advantage of “Lion Traxx,” Southeastern Louisiana University’s recently launched free shuttle bus service, since it began transporting students, faculty and staff across campus last month.
“This week we will break the 2,000 mark of students riding the shuttle in one week,” said Gary Prescott, assistant director of shuttle services. “This is very, very encouraging. I’m thrilled to see students running to the shuttle at 8:00 in the morning to go to class and to where they need to be.”
Since the new shuttle began rolling Nov. 12, the university has tweaked the route. It begins at the University Center on north campus, stops on Tennessee Avenue near the rear of D Vickers Hall, continues through Friendship Circle, and stops again at Garrett Hall before heading back to north campus.
“My first class is in White Hall,” said R. J. Leblanc, a freshman from Baton Rouge. “Before the shuttle service, I would walk from north campus to White Hall and would often miss my first hour of lab. But now, it’s no problem, and I’ve never missed lab. I would like to tell the administration ‘thank you’ for the bus service.”
Jennifer Bufkin, a sophomore horticulture major from Franklinton, echoed his sentiments.
“I catch the shuttle bus on north campus at 8 a.m. even though my first class is not until 11 a.m. in Mims Hall,” she said. “I go to breakfast prior to going to class, because if I don’t eat breakfast, it’s hard for me to function.” Pre-shuttle, Bufkin said it took her 30 minutes to walk from north campus to her destination. And on days when she wasn’t feeling well or if it was raining, it was easy to hit the snooze button.
“I have been sick this past week and I probably would not have made it to my classes without the shuttle service,” she said.
Jennifer Lobue, a freshman biology major from Marrero, also faced a half hour trek from north campus to East Stadium, where she puts in early morning hours as a student worker in the Public Information Office. She tried to shorten her trip by taking short cuts and borrowing a bike from her cousin. “I was so excited when I heard that we were getting a shuttle bus,” she said.
Southeastern explored options for funding a shuttle bus service for at least 10 years, said Jim McHodgkins, assistant vice president for student affairs. “Finally with the assistance of students passing a $6 fee last spring, we are able to secure financing,” he said.
Lion Traxx runs from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Currently, one bus is in full time service while a second bus runs during peak 7-9 a.m. hours. Next semester, three buses will run every 10 minutes to accommodate the Southeastern community. New signs and covered seating areas will also be added at the bus stops.
In the spring the university will also begin enforcing a requirement that riders will be show their university I.D. before boarding the buses. The buses will be equipped with a card swipe system and have direct communication to the University Police Department.
With the fall semester ending Dec. 7, Lion Traxx will perform one final service before being parked until the spring semester gets underway. On graduation day, Saturday, Dec. 8, the shuttle will lend a hand with traffic challenges, beginning at 8 a.m. to ferry riders to and from the 10 a.m. ceremony at the University Center.
“There will be no designated bus stops, we will just make rounds on campus picking people up,” said Prescott.
Additional information on the Lion Traxx Shuttle Service is available by calling 985-549-BUSS, or, after hours, by calling the University Police Department at 549-2222.