With six hours down and another nine to go, the campus bus travels along Pierce College’s roads and enters Lot 8 another time when the bus driver is flagged down by students hoping to catch a ride to class.
The driver promptly stops the bus and lets the students, who are in a rush to get to class, aboard.
On the Pierce campus a bus runs along Brahma Drive, Stadium Way, El Rancho Drive and Mason Avenue, transporting students and staff at no cost to its passengers. The cost the campus incurs, however, is much greater.
“It’s approximately $100,000 a year,” said Larry Kraus, associate vice president of the Office of Development and Enterprise.
The bus runs as a mandated service from the 2008 U.S. District Court case Huezo v. Los Angeles Community College District in which “[Marvin] Huezo alleged that defendants failed to make the educational facilities accessible to mobility-impaired persons and failed to provide ‘programs, services and activities’ in a non-discriminatory manner to persons with mobility disabilities,” according to documents.
The court instructed the district “to provide regularly scheduled shuttle service for disabled students.”
One of many grievances brought in the court case was the inaccessibility of the Arts Center which is separated from the rest of campus by a steep hill. The evening bus driver, Minerva Espinoza, said the busiest time during her shift is from 3 to 5 p.m., when many of her passengers go to the parking lots surrounding the Arts Center.
“I am going to continue to use the shuttle. My class is in the Village, and my car is way up on the art hill,” said Armond Ghzanian, a 49-year-old multimedia student in his first semester at Pierce.
While the primary function of the bus is making sure that anyone on campus with mobility disabilities have access to the entire campus, very few of its riders are disabled.
According to the two bus drivers, there has yet to be a passenger this semester that has used the wheelchair lift.
Regardless of others using the bus, students like Chris Urbina, a 21-year-old business administration student, thinks that the service is “definitely a plus.”
“It’s the only campus I’ve seen with a shuttle,” Urbina said.
Kraus said the number of passengers that use the bus are very few.
“I probably couldn’t give you an actual number. I’d have to go look at the data again, but it’s not in the 100s or the 50s. It’s pretty light,” Kraus said.
Students that know of and use the bus appreciate the service, but there are over 21,000 students at Pierce, according to the school’s website, with only approximately three to four passengers per hour taking advantage of this service.
“The shuttle is mandated. We are required to provide some type of ADA-compliant assistance to our students and staff,” Kraus said. “That’s the requirement, and so we’re providing that.”