East Carolina University has implemented some changes to its parking and transit services for the fall 2020 semester to ensure safety precautions for its students due to COVID-19. A few of its changes include eliminating Pirate Express, a late-night bus that transports students to and from the Uptown area on weekends, reducing capacity limits on buses and ECU Safe Ride and eliminating several stops during bus routes.
The solutions ECU Transit had in mind are mandatory masks when boarding buses, providing an extra bus available during peak times during the semester and for the NextBus phone application, which allows students to track bus routes and stop times, to let users know the status of the bus capacity. The buses will also be cleaned and sanitized at the end of every shift to be prepared for the next day.
We, the editorial staff of The East Carolinian, believe the new bus transit changes will not be effective and will potentially create more problems for students. Even though these changes are a good idea to reduce the possible spread of COVID, it will put students at a disadvantage in being able to get to places around campus and discourages them from attending classes.
Although eliminating Pirate Express was used to reduce the number of students from attending social events off-campus, it will not stop students from attending these events. Instead, it will put them in an unsafe situation, not being able to have a safe ride home due to Pirate Express and Safe Ride not being available late at night. Other than going out, these services were also used by students who work on or off campus and need a form of transportation to make it back home.
We trust ECU to make sure the students on campus are safe and will do everything it can to make sure they limit contact with one another for the upcoming semester. But eliminating one of the most used resources on campus and canceling several stops will cause more problems than it solves.