By: Allison O’Brien
A new service may be offered at UPEI as early as January 4, 2019.
The service is called Panther Patrol, a shuttle service that would offer UPEI students a safe drive to places such as the grocery store, walk-in clinic, the airport, or even home after a wet/dry event such as Halloween Pub.
The idea is being proposed by UPEISU President Will McGuigan and would cost approximately $25,000 in student dollars every year for five years, totalling $125,000.
McGuigan says the van would cover areas including Charlottetown, North River, some areas of Stratford, and the airport.
“I think it’s going to be something that all students will enjoy,” McGuigan said.
Student Union operated shuttle services are not a new concept among maritime universities, with Memorial, Saint Mary’s, Dalhousie, Acadia and the University of New Brunswick all having at least one van that offers a similar service.
McGuigan’s proposal has been met with concerns from council that students won’t use the service enough to warrant the need for a shuttle.
“This is a really big commitment to get this van. Once we’re in, we’re in. We really want to have the students’ money in mind, and we want to make sure we don’t have to be spending more money than we do. Is this really something that is going to be worth their money?” asked Business Representative Quinn Barnett.
McGuigan said that with the increasing international student population, a drive to the airport would save students money on taxis, among various other things. “I really think with a small amount of investment, it can have a huge amount of return for the students,” said McGuigan.
Buzz Caravan, Health and Wellness Representative, added that students with accessibility needs would benefit greatly from being able to transport their groceries by van rather than bus.
McGuigan hopes to offset some of the costs of the shuttle service by allowing organizations to post their logo on the van.
The SU has created a Google Form for students to give feedback on this idea. It can be found here.