After three decades of offering the service, the Student Access Center will no longer operate its individual shuttle availability for students who need special transportation accommodations because of budget cuts.
“Fiscal changes [and] budget reductions, in the past few years have impacted the funds available for the shuttle. This year’s financial impact was more than we can make up for and we can no longer support the service,” Jason Maseberg-Tomlinson, Student Access Center director, said via email.
The program was started to help accommodate students navigate a campus that had more vehicle traffic. At the time, K-State also “lacked curb-cuts,” which was a navigation barrier for students in wheelchairs, Maseberg-Tomlinson said.
It’s looked different over the years. Recently, the service has operated using golf cart transportation. But before the Kansas State campus was pedestrian-centered, Maseberg-Tomlinson said the center used a van.
Going forward, students who have need of special transportation accommodations will be asked to use the aTa Bus that runs routes on and off campus. Through the Demand Response program, individuals can request off-route “origin to destination” transportation between 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on most weekdays.
“It is a way for individuals with disabilities and injuries to access transportation services when they cannot get to regular routes,” Maseberg-Tomlinson said. “They can also take students around town and provide more service than we could.”
In the last few years, Maseberg-Tomlinson said, aTa has worked to increase their reliability. For instance, the organization has added GPS into their vehicles to allow for route tracking and timing for riders.
All K-State students can ride aTa Bus free of charge with a student ID, but Demand Response has an added fare when riding within Manhattan city limits. Additionally, aTa buses are wheelchair accessible.
Students with specific concerns about the changing program can reach out to the Student Access Center or Office of Student Life.