Future of spring break and Turkey Shuttle service to be determined by incoming TCU senators

The Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate’s annual Spring Break Shuttle service did not reach its target number of ticket sales, according to outgoing TCU Senate Historian Max Hirsch, who noted that there is a possibility that the service will discontinue in the future due to the limited ticket sales.

TCU Treasurer Shai Slotky noted that the program is still tentatively budgeted for the upcoming academic year. While Hirsch noted that discussions about the continuation of the program have been held among the outgoing TCU Senate, Slotky explained that the program’s continuation will be reassessed by the incoming body of TCU Senators.

The shuttle service provided students subsidized transportation from the Mayer Campus Center to both South Station and Logan International Airport seven times throughout Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18 preceding spring break, according to the Facebook event publicizing the service. Students could buy $5 tickets to use the service, which is identical in function to the Turkey Shuttle, the shuttle service for students before the Thanksgiving break during the fall semester.

The TCU Senate Services Committee, helmed by former TCU Senator and chairman Josh Davis, was in charge of administration of the shuttle service. Hirsch said he was also an active member in its organization, noting that he booked the shuttle service for $175 less than the allocated amount for the project in the Senate’s budget for Fiscal Year 2016.

Each of the seven shuttles that ran had a maximum capacity of 54. However, none of the shuttles were filled beyond 25 people, and several of them had below 15 riders. The least-filled shuttle had three riders, according to an email Associate Director of Campus Life Laura DaRos sent to Hirsch.

DaRos explained in the email that because of these numbers, some buses were a waste to run, noting the lack of student utilization of the service and the overall lack of profits from ticket sales.

The amount allocated for the shuttle was $2,200, with a built-in income of $1,200. The company that provided the shuttle service was Joseph’s Limousine & Transportation, which charged $2,025. Despite being under-budget in booking the service, only $875 was made back in ticket sales, yielding a net loss of $1,150, Hirsch said.

Hirsch does not expect the money lost through this session to be made back by the Senate. He said there is an automatic combined $2,000 loss on both the fall and spring shuttles because the Senate does not seek to break even or earn a profit but to provide students a cheap and convenient way to travel from campus to either South Station or Logan International Airport before the breaks. Hirsch noted that the additional monetary loss from poor ticket sales just added to that number.

Hirsch said he believes the organizers “relied too heavily on the bus departure times from last year” and did not look to see which times sold well last year and which did not while making their decisions for the logistics of the shuttle. He also believes that a substantial number of people left campus for break on Saturday, which was not a day that the service was running.

Several students explained that they felt they did not need to utilize the shuttle because they preferred to use public transportation, which many noted was still easily accessible and a cheaper alternative than using the shuttle service.

Others noted that they preferred to use services like Uber, which they noted was more convenient when it came to dealing with luggage and other logistical factors.

“I don’t think I and many other students need to use a shuttle to get to the airport when Uber is a thing, and so many people live relatively locally anyway,” first-year Michael Arciero said.

Correction: The previous version of this story did not clarify that Laura DaRos did not speak to the Daily, but sent out relevant information to TCU Historian Max Hirsch that was used for this story.