‘Staffing issues’ slow down tram service

Yolanda Becerra

A very popular student service has been facing “staffing issues” which have caused several students to be late to class and made countless others face the dreaded walk from the dorms to the campus.

Approximately 50,000 to 60,000 tram trips are taken every month, according to transportation coordinator Astrid B. Logan.

“It is a very popular service,” said Captain Alfredo Fernandez, but given the shortage in drivers, “trams have been running more sporadically this semester.”

Some tram drivers have had to pick up extra shifts and have had their hours extended to help cope with the “staffing issue.”

Both Fernandez and Logan said that they are in the process of hiring more drivers and that the issue should be resolved by the middle of November or December.

This provides little comfort to students since it means that they will have to potentially bear the situation the entire semester.

“I haven’t been late but I’ve had to walk, but I don’t like that,” said Tiana Tan second-year business major. “I’ve had to walk five times this semester and I hate that shit.”

Broadcast journalism major Candice Rander said that she has been late to class eight times and has had to walk three times to class but that it doesn’t bother her.

There are also those who say that the trams have not been a problem for them, Kazumi Matsui, a transfer student from San Jose, said that she has not been affected by the delays but that she is aware of the problem.

Fernandez said that the shortage in drivers is due to the fact that one employee is on leave and two others resigned.

The reason for the drivers’ resignations could not be disclosed; all Logan could offer was, “people come and go.”

The reason it has taken so long to hire new drivers is that the applicant pool was very small, Logan said, and it takes several months to hire someone, “but we see the light at the end of the tunnel now,” Logan said.

Logan said that students need to keep in mind how much time they have to get to class and if they don’t see the tram they should start walking. She also said students need to realize that even if the tram is on time, it might be full to capacity from previous stops.

Another factor that may delay trams is that sometimes drivers need to pick up disabled students at different locations and this can lead to the tram stopping for several minutes, Logan said.

Logan said that she personally has posted signs for students explaining that trams might be running late and advising them to walk to campus, but that when she has gone back the signs have been taken down by someone.

Tan and Yo both said that they have not seen any signs at the tram stops and that it is only by word of mouth and personal experience that they have come to know about the trams being late.

Gk said she only saw a sign the first week of school, but at that time the trams were not being a problem. Since then, Gk said she has not seen any signs explaining why the trams are late or apologizing for any inconvenience that the delays are causing.