UC Los Angeles has obtained two UC Riverside trolleys whose services were discontinued last summer due to a lack of funding. UCLA Transportation now uses them to shuttle students from the De Neve turnaround to Hedrick Court (two UCLA on-campus housing locations) with hopes of alleviating crowds at De Neve dining hall and providing easier access to other dining halls. According to the Daily Bruin, the trolleys were loaned to UCLA.
The removal of the trolleys, however, has posed an inconvenience to UC Riverside students. The blue trolleys’ discontinued routes, such as Braveheart Loop, had previously transported students around campus and out to the Canyon Crest Town Center without charge. Caleb Kisselberg, a fourth year at UC Riverside who regularly rode the trolleys, stated that, “[the trolleys] provided a convenient means of transportation for students and also offered a level of safety.” Kisselberg elaborated on the security aspect that the trolley had offered, noting that recent robberies and attacks near campus have occurred on streets that the trolley used to travel through. “We are paying more in tuition and receiving fewer services,” concluded Kisselberg.
The trolleys were operated by Transportation and Parking services (TAPS), except for its final year when Housing Services also contributed to their cost. The total annual cost of the campus shuttle program last year was roughly $1.5 million and it was expected to increase to over $2 million. “Several vehicles needed to be replaced with new buses or trolleys and the drivers’ salaries and benefits were increasing,” Mike Delo, director of transportation and parking services explained. “Revenue from parking permits paid for the entire shuttle system…parking permit fees would have to increase dramatically in order to continue funding the shuttle.”
TAPS receives no campus or state funding and all of its revenue comes from selling parking permits or issuing parking citations. The revenue is then allocated to different areas of need such as repairing parking lots and maintaining campus sidewalks. TAPS still retains two other trolleys, Crest Cruiser and Bear Runner. In terms of more transportation services in the future, Delo doubts a free campus shuttle program will be reinstituted. According to Delo, if a similar program were introduced then the funding source would need to come from a student referendum. Other UC campuses where students have done this include UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz and UC Davis.