September 06, 2013 9:00AM
GPS technology is helping keep Pittsburg State University students safer.
Beginning this week, students can use their smart phones to locate the free Gus Bus to determine where it is on its fixed route and estimate when it will arrive at their location. The Gus Bus operates between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
“The Gus Bus completes its route about every 30 minutes, but being able to track the bus on its route will help students know how long the wait will be,” said J. T. Knoll, Student Prevention and Wellness coordinator. “Knowing when the bus will arrive may help deter a student from making a poor choice about walking or driving when they shouldn’t”
The technology to make the tracking service available is readily available and inexpensive, Knoll said, thanks in no small part to the work of Gregor Kalan, Director of Web Marketing, who set up the service on the Pitt State home page. Students should find it easy to use, he said. They simply click on the icon on the PSU home page, which will appear only during the hours when the Gus Bus is operating. They will then be able to watch the bus as it moves along its proscribed route.
The Gus Bus, funded through the Student Government Association, uses a SEK-CAP van that travels a route connecting the campus, major apartment complexes and downtown Pittsburg. The Gus Bus is a supplement to, but does not replace the SafeRide program, which has been in place for a number of years. Students who need rides outside of the Gus Bus route are encouraged to call SafeRide at 620-719-0135. SafeRide operates between 11 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday and also relies on a SEK-CAP van.
Knoll said that while one of the goals of the Gus Bus program is to keep drivers who have been drinking off the roads, there are many other safety benefits to students.
“I can imagine any number of scenarios in which students might want to use SafeRide or Gus Bus,” Knoll said. “For example, you’re out and your car breaks down. You’ve been studying late at the library and don’t want to walk alone to your apartment. You’re out with friends and want to go home, but don’t have a ride back to the residence hall. There are a great many situations in which students may wish to use this service.”
In fact, Knoll said, they already are. Usage of both SafeRide and Gus Bus continues to increase.