Westmont Shuttle continues to provide access to Santa Barbara, despite packed conditions

John Kiser, Staff Writer

This school year, Westmont has the highest number of first-year students on campus, and subsequently the shuttle system has been carrying its highest capacity in history.

In fact, to accommodate the influx of first-year students, every single bed and useable living space has been taken advantage of on campus. First-year Daniel Rubin says, “I’m glad I chose Emerson over Page and Clark because it’s much quieter and laid back, though the shuttle can get packed out.” The ability to ride downtown and see the sights has its highlights as well as drawbacks according to upper-campus residents. 

Some students prefer to use Uber since it can get them from point A to point B without having to wait for a specific shuttle time. Second-year Craig Odenwald comments, “There have been days when the shuttle is late, but it’s fine if you have a few minutes to wait for it.” Though using the Uber service is more direct, fees can add up roundtrip and some drivers aren’t well acquainted with Montecito. 

First-year Macy Cholometes remarks, “There are a ton of people when the shuttle stops at Clark,” which is the last shuttle stop on upper campus. When she gets on the shuttle with her friends, “there usually isn’t anywhere to sit — so (they) stand.” 

This kind of experience would not be considered a rarity at Westmont. The value of transportation in Santa Barbara has its price, and if you want to see the sun illuminate the beach down the coastline after dinner, sometimes, you just have to stand on the shuttle.

The zippy express shuttle no longer makes its rounds up and down the streets of Santa Barbara and Montecito, making Emerson senator Zach Simopoulos “sad because I cannot go to Trader Joes anymore to get my vegetables.” Since this shuttle takes quicker routes, with less stops, it is highly sought after by many students. This is in credit to the shuttle’s expediency which students on a time constraint have significantly benefited from.

Santa Barbara is filled to the brim with adventure and high-class leisure. It is off campus, after students finish their studies, where freedom and exploration ring true. With the ability to have agency in such a location, students at Westmont can frequent famous beaches, shop at endless stores, and dine at favorited local eateries. To possess the luxury of expense-free transportation that runs on a consistent schedule, all students need to do is check the Ride app on their devices.  

This app contains all the stops, all the times and all the routes that the shuttle buses use daily. Upper-campus locations at Page and Clark Halls accumulate the most amount of student traffic. While the shuttle is open to all students on Westmont’s campus, typical shuttle-goers are normally first and second-year students. This is due to the difficulty of underclassmen obtaining a parking pass, which works in accordance with unit count. 

Some lucky underclassmen obtain the highly coveted Westmont parking permits, while others ride with their upperclassmen friends. Attaining such privileges is not common among most underclassmen, so the shuttle ferries mostly freshmen and sophomores around town.

Although the Express Shuttle is not in service anymore, students will continue to line the rows of the shuttle seats, keen and ready to dismiss the stress off their minds.