Shuttle maintenance, care reveals hefty budget
With campus parking being more on the hectic side, campus shuttles make life for students a lot easier. These shuttles run all day, ferrying students from West Campus, which frees up parking spots for commuter students.
Beth McCauley, parking services monitor, knows the routes like she knows the back of her hand.
“We have seven full-time drivers that run five routes Monday through Friday from 7:20 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.,” McCauley said. “Every eight minutes the shuttles pick up from West Campus to take students back and forth from Main Campus.”
Georgia College has 10 total shuttles and two more vans that transport students around both campuses. In addition to the full-time drivers there are three part-time shuttle drivers.
The shuttles normally have a six and a half to seven year life span. But Georgia College shuttles last longer.
Some of the shuttles date back to 2003 and 2004, but there are also three shuttles that are only a year old.
Transportation Services Coordinator Darryl Richardson, runs the numbers and keeps these shuttles on track.
“Our routine is a rotating basis when it comes to the shuttles,” Richardson said. “In the 10-hour day, the drivers are able to come up with what shuttle needs maintenance, so we can then rotate those shuttles and get them into the shop.”
On average Georgia College has around $2,500 in maintenance fees in a given month, but it fluctuates determining on how much wear and tear the shuttles go through.
“Each shuttle driver goes through a pre and post-trip inspection of the shuttle,” Richardson said. “With these inspections we are able to determine what needs to get fixed or checked out.”
There are several shops that the shuttles are taken to. Richard Campbell, automotive shop foreman, is used for emergencies, which is located downtown. They use a business called Gilbert’s, which is a truck stop in Macon but also deals with buses and shuttles, and air-conditioning service work is taken care of in Milledgeville.
These shuttles run on a four-mile route of West Campus to the Centennial Center to Main Campus and then back to West Campus.
In a day the shuttles can reach up to a total of 130 miles from all of those routes, and with fuel prices rising, shuttles go through a vast amount of money on gas.
“Last month (March)we spent over $13,000 in fuel alone,” Richardson said. “Those gas prices include the shuttles being used everyday, and the buses used for athletics.”
Scott McCauley, shuttle driver and athletics driver, works from 6:45 a.m. until 5 p.m. every day of the week.
“We fill up everyday. But we could go two or three days without fueling up if we had to,” McCauley said. “The campus shuttles have a 50-60 gallon tank that runs on diesel fuel.”