Mixed response to return of UB’s 24-hour weekend shuttle

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)-  For UB students, the return of what they all call the ‘drunk bus’ means a safe, free ride home from parties.

“Freshman some down from North to party, and the buses are great way from them to get back to North safely,” says UB sophomore Akinsola Akinwu, who lives near South Campus.

“This area is known for parties and drinking and that’s what you do in college, everyone drinks in college, everyone parties,” Junior Kristin Faulise tells News 4.

She lives on Winspear Avenue, and agrees with Akinwu that the weekend shuttle’s return is a good thing.

But for residents who live near South Campus and aren’t students, it’s a different story.

“I’m scared. It’s been a miracle the last month,” says Travis Ballard, who lives a few houses down from Faulise.

Before the start of the Fall Semester the University postponed the shuttle service on Fridays and Saturdays, after complaints of underage drinking and loud noise in the neighborhood around South Campus.

Ballard, a UB graduate, has lived in this area for years. He feels a lot of these students aren’t held accountable for the headache they cause their neighbors.

“If these were or had been hundreds of black students roaming around this neighborhood, the response to them would have been drastically different,” he says.

Ballard says in general though, this year has been better than last, at least so far.

“99.9999 percent of these students are great, great neighbors. It’s a pleasure to live among them and sometimes that gets lost in the problems,” he says.

One of the problems, he points out, is students not picking up after their parties.

As we spoke to Ballard, we spotted several red solo cups tossed around the sidewalk and on his neighbors’ lawns.

Faulise and some of her roommates say they’ve received letters from neighbors which don’t make them feel welcome, even though they say they keep their parties under control.

One home, across the street from Faulise, has a sign that reads “Family lives here, not students.”

The bus will now run every 30 minutes, seven days a week.

According to a statement from UB the shuttle is intended to transport students between campuses for work or study, but the students we spoke to say the previous buses were used largely to go to and from parties.

These shuttles will have half the capacity of the Stampede buses, and according to the University there will be no option to stand.

Taylor Buonocore lives on the North Campus and says when the weekend service was suspended in August, she and her friends relied on ridesharing.

“I feel like we just got used to taking Ubers, because it’s much more convenient to just get picked up at your hall, dropped off right at the party, rather than taking a bus, waiting for the bus in the cold when it snows, it’s just a lot more convenient, but it is expensive,” she says.

Now that the weekend shuttle is back, she plans on taking it.

Ballard, who says his garden is often littered after parties, is hopeful that the 99.9 percent majority will shine through.

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