Staff Report: Transportation Troubles
After some discussion, the newspaper staff would like to make a call to action pertaining to the transportation for student-athletes at PC. Over the course of the last year, both the bus and the people mover have broken down multiple times. On September 6th the women’s soccer team broke down in the people mover on the way to play against Midland and was stuck off the highway for two hours causing them to be late which consequently meant the other team had to push the game back. There were other delays and breakdowns this fall among the other active teams. Volleyball, while traveling to Mount Marty in Yankton, had an issue with the people mover which left them stranded for nearly 2 hours in Bristol. Eventually, a bus from Clark was able to pick them up, however, the breakdown caused them to arrive late, and shorten their warm up time. Football had a similar issue when traveling to Sioux Falls for a match-up against Dakota State. The game was held in Sioux Falls because of a rain delay which had caused for the game to be rescheduled to Monday, and played at a neutral site. The bus broke down and it took an hour for a replacement to pick them up, causing the second delay for the team in three days. The recurring malfunctions with the bus date back over a year to last fall, when the baseball team was on its way back from a round-robin in Fargo. The team was stuck at a gas station for over three hours and didn’t make it back to Aberdeen until nearly 2 AM.
The Saints Press staff did some digging and held an interview with Bob Schuchardt, the vice president of student affairs. Schuchardt stated that the reason for the bus and people mover breaking down so many times this past year was due to human error. He went into detail that, “the company who was working on the bus in Montana [after the Men’s soccer team was stranded] said the problem was just the speed sensor and overall cost [was] roughly about $3,000 to fix.” He also stated, “Whoever was working on the people mover, after it broke down on the volleyball team, broke the clip to the fuel filter and it came off which caused loss of pressure causing it to not get the fuel it needed.” Now that the bus and the people mover have been fixed, we have not had any problems. PC is said to be getting a new people mover in three weeks and should be good to go for transporting athletes. Additionally, PC cancelled its WiFi contract with Verizon because it was not giving our students the service we needed and wanted. Schuchardt commented that, “Using someone’s hotspot could be an option to hook up for WiFi but they are still looking for other options.”
If the issues with the bus are truly resolved, and the new people mover is really on the way, then what the staff would like to request is for improvements to the amenities available during travel. As student-athletes, a good portion of our free time is forfeited to traveling, and the lack of quality WiFi available to us in those travels hurts us as students specifically. Coach Albrecht provides the volleyball players with a hotspot for them to connect to and use to do homework. We, as a staff, believe that it would be beneficial for the school to look into the cost of providing multiple hotspots, as that strategy has been proven successful. Additionally, the lack of functionality of restrooms on the bus has led to extended travel plans due to the need of stops made for athletes to use a restroom. We would like to see if the repair of the restroom on the bus could be worked into the athletic budget so that athletes are able to enjoy a more comfortable traveling experience in the future.
*Photo Credit: Presentation College Athletics page