A.S. President Meggie Le announced yesterday that Vice Chancellor for Resource Management and Planning Gary Matthews has asked Director of Auxiliary Business Services Robert Holden to postpone the implementation of any changes so that we may have the time to discuss alternatives. Simply put: The shuttle cuts planned for July will not be happening. Yet.
But before you start hugging your shuttle driver and taking victory laps on the Arriba shuttle, realize the fight isn’t over. TPS’s debt hasn’t changed, and we still need a solution.
For those evidently living under a rock: Last month, TPS announced a series of changes in response to the service’s multi-million dollar deficit, including an increase in parking costs in on-campus parking structures and for all permits, the discontinuation of the free Bus Zone sticker system and the integration of the Arriba and Nobel shuttle lines into a more frequent MTS SuperLoop line.
A Facebook group was then formed to unite students against the changes and quickly grew to more than 7,000 members. After examining the concerns expressed by students on this group, Le and UC Student Association President Raquel Morales met with Matthews, TPS Assistant Director Todd Berven and Director of Auxiliary Business Services Robert Holden to share a list of demands which included paving over the Torrey Pines Gliderport for student-only parking, creating “S” parking spots by The Village, maintaining the current price for “S” parking permits and continuing the full subsidized MTS Bus Zone sticker program, among others.
In response to the demands introduced by Le and Morales, Matthews said the changes will not be put into place — instead, the administration will seek to establish a committee to discuss alternatives.
That’s where the town halls and similar forums come into play. We need to turn the aforementioned demands into real, concrete solutions we could potentially initiate. Though the changes are delayed, the threat of their implementation is not gone.
Le is already a sitting undergraduate representative on the Transportation and Parking Committee but has served in more of an advocacy role. We hope that in this new subcommittee, she and other students will actually be able to introduce and implement alternative ideas.
Furthermore, we should also be thankful for Le and Morales’ leadership during this time — they represented the student body’s needs so that we wouldn’t have to resort to protests, and they were clearly successful in doing so. The 7,000 members of the Facebook group — and the rest of the student body that these changes would affect — should make this delay worth the costs to TPS’s budget by attending future town hall meetings and remaining active in any online discussions of realistic alternatives. Only 55 people (approximately) attended Tuesday’s meeting, including A.S. Council. Unless we turn that number up, there’s no guarantee your ideas will be represented by Le and the others in the subcommittee.