Sorry I’m Late, Couldn’t Find Parking or Use the Shuttle


Photo by Jakira Bryan

Erica Fish and Gracie Burgess

Since the first day of the Fall 2021 semester, students have not been able to use the Double Map phone application to see where shuttles for South Village, North Lake and West Lake are located during their travel route.

From an app that does not work to students leaving more than a half-hour early to guarantee they will make it to class, the convenience of timeliness and accessibility with campus shuttles is a thing of the past during these first few weeks of the semester.

The question is, how much longer will it be until the Double Map app is up and running?

“There has been some talk from students that a shuttle driver told passengers they’ve been reprogramming the system used to track the shuttles’ locations,” FGCU senior Haley Kirk said. “You’d think this would have been done before classes resumed, especially with a test-run to see if it all worked.”

Convenience is the main reason why students use the campus shuttles to commute. The shuttles are free and accessible, but students this year are walking to their pickup locations thinking they’ll make it to class on time, and then watching the shuttle turn the corner.

“I think everyone has at least once felt some sort of anxiety if they’ve run late for class or rush in when the lecture has already started,” Kirk said. “Students rely on this app to time themselves and schedule ahead.

Student’s classes, their commitments and other campus duties are affected when they’re forced to gamble on the shuttles’ accessibility.

The Double Map app has been an issue, but it’s not the only problem students are having lately. With the growing campus population and the loss of auxiliary lot eight, more commonly referred to by students as “the dirt lot,” commuters are having difficulty finding parking.

“Thanks to COVID-19 this is my first semester on campus, and I was completely shocked by the parking situation,” said FGCU commuter Abbi Jalbert. “After I missed one of my classes because I couldn’t find a parking spot, I realized that I needed to get to campus at least an hour before my class to ensure that I find parking.”

Jalbert is one of the countless FGCU students who have faced issues this year. Students report fruitlessly circling around the parking garages, going from garage to garage in the hopes of finding a spot.

When asked about the parking situation, senior Amie Lofland said she did not expect parking and transportation to be as crowded as it has been.

“It is really hard to find parking in the garages. I have to circle up and down the ramps several times,” Lofland said.

Due to the full garages, a transportation app that is currently defunct, and shuttles that are either too full or nowhere to be found, students have found other alternatives to arrive on campus and make it to their classes on time.

One alternative mode of transportation is biking. FGCU sophomore, Ronique Bobb said her bike has reduced her stress this year and helped her to get more exercise.

“Living in SoVi last year, parking was much easier to find, and the buses were nowhere near as packed,” Bobb said. “My bike saves me a lot of time!”

Parking Garages 3 and 4, the ones closest to the academic buildings, are the first to fill up because of their proximity to the main lecture halls. Leaving Garages 1 and 2 less crowded – but these two options have students walking a much greater distance to their academic and social commitments.

“I’ve figured out that Garage 2 is my best bet at finding a spot, but walking 10 to 15 minutes to main campus coupled with the Florida heat and a back injury, can be difficult,” Jalbert said.

With a continuously growing campus population and only 30% of students residing in on-campus housing, it’s becoming clear that FGCU needs to invest in more parking garages. With more parking garages, students would be able to spend more time focusing on their academics and less worrying about if they are going to make it to class on time.