Several Mills students were recently delayed when the Mills van service was cut short due to a regularly scheduled driver calling in sick.
On Feb. 9, Feb. 26 and March 1, Public Safety sent campus-wide e-mails informing students of the changes to the schedule and apologized for any inconveniences they caused.
Mills College hires van drivers from a chauffeur company called WeDriveU.
According to Niviece Robinson, assistant director of Public Safety, when drivers call in sick they are supposed to contact both the company and Mills College.
WeDriveU advises Public Safety on a course of action and arranges for replacement drivers.
Robinson explained that it is hard to find suitable replacement drivers. Every driver must have the college’s clearance to work here and must also know how to use the disabled lift on the Mills van.
Attempts to establish a permanent backup driver for Mills have been difficult since one van must be taken out of rotation, usually on a Saturday, in order to train the prospective staff driver, said Robinson.
An e-mail from Public Safety Supervisor Maria Rugama sent on March 1 said that students should call Public Safety in order to arrange for alternate transportation.
However, according to the disclaimer located under the shuttle schedule on the Mills Web site, if a replacement driver cannot be found: “Mills College will not be responsible for providing alternative transportation. You should be prepared with an alternate transportation plan should the shuttle be unavailable.”
For some students these alternatives include the bus, BART, or taxi. The Student Handbook explains that charges for cab vouchers will be billed to student accounts.
Robinson estimated that cab fare runs about $25 from Berkeley, depending on traffic.
She added that only three vouchers have recently been given out due to cancellations.
“We encourage everyone to know a way to get home,” Robinson emphasized, pointing out that bus schedules can be located just outside the Public Safety offices in Sage Hall. Students can also get the information by dialing 511 on their cell phones.
“All shuttle drivers also have bus schedules in their clipboards,” she added.
Some students turned the cancellation into a positive experience. Sophomore Lacy Paap, who was stranded at the Berkeley-stop with “ten or so” other students, traveled back to Mills by BART together.
She wrote in a piece to The Campanil this experience “a wonderful display of the often overused and diluted concept of ‘community.'”
To find AC Transit information online, please visit www.actransit.org. For shuttle info, schedules and more, please visit www.mills.edu.