By Ivan Cazares
An additional shuttle transporting students from the South Gate Education Center to the main campus started running Monday.
The new shuttle will operate from 4-8 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Unlike the regular shuttle, it will not make any stops between campuses.
The regular shuttle makes two stops between campuses – California and Firestone and on Otis and Firestone.
“We started off with two shuttles,” South Gate Dean Al Rios said.
The shuttle program had a rough start, but quickly gained popularity.
Alan Gallegos said that it was his first time riding the shuttle.“ (The shuttle) got me to school fast because it uses the freeway,” Gallegos
Rios said adding a shuttle to the peak hours of traffic was the fastest way to address the issue.
The regular shuttle’s schedule has also been updated to compensate for traffic being caused by construction approaching the Long Beach Freeway.
The shuttle stopped running five years after it started due to budget cuts.
It was brought back a few months later due to high demand from students, faculty and staff.
The shuttle transports thousands of students, as well as faculty and staff for free daily. All that is required to ride is a school ID or a printout.
“I take the shuttle to school and back home,” said Rosa Garibay.
She said the shuttle is usually very punctual and that the longest she’s had to wait for it has been 15 minutes past its scheduled time of arrival.
Only one shuttle had been making runs from South Gate to the main campus.
“A lot of students are having to stand up in the shuttle. We wanted to address that,” Rios said.
After suggestions from several committees, the contract with American Transportations Systems was amended for a quick solution.
Marco Caballero said that he benefits from the shuttle, because it takes him home.
“It’s a good thing, because the shuttle can get really full sometimes,” Caballero said.
He also said that the only draw back is the traffic.
“All that’s left is for Dennis Justice to sign the revised contract,” Rios said.
Justice is the owner of American Transportations and the only person East Los Angeles College has done business with for shuttle services.
Rios said that he was sure Justice would sign.
About $2,400 from the campus’ regular budget will be used for the additional shuttle.
“Our goal is to have two shuttles running all day,” Rios said.
To make that possible, a proposal would have to be presented to the district board of trustees.
“We would have had to wait until next semester to do that,” Rios said.
The shuttle scheduled to arrive at ELAC at 6:20 p.m. was 30 minutes late on Monday.
“It was probably stuck in traffic,” Michelle Flores said.
The shuttle dropped her off at ELAC at about 6:50 p.m.
“This new schedule is better. I might have still been waiting in South Gate,” said Flores.
The updated schedule has the final shuttle of the day departing from South Gate at 9:45 p.m. and the final shuttle of the day, departing from ELAC at 10:20 p.m.