The Department of Public Safety is offering a new transportation service, the Bison Express, to students on campus.
The program offers vehicle services such as jump-starts, unlocking doors and fixing flat tires. The Bison Express looks similar to public safety vehicles and functions as a transportation service, providing rides for students from one place on campus to the next. The program also serves students needing transportation to a medical facility or pharmacy.
“The Bison Express is a new twist on what we’ve already done,” Assistant Director of Public Safety Kevin Davis said. “It’s a reallocation of our student officer resources so that patrol guys, especially armed staff, can concentrate more on the patrol side at night.”
According to Davis, the use of student resource officers on the Bison Express is anticipated to boost department efficiency and reduce the wait time for students needing a ride on campus.
Davis said patrol officers will be able to concentrate more time toward preventing crime and preserving campus safety.
“One of the things the Bison Express will allow our patrol guys to do is to concentrate more on the parking lots on campus to prevent vehicle break-ins,” Davis said. “It will also allow us to do walk-throughs of the buildings and dorms more frequently, because we will have the manpower to concentrate on that side of things as opposed to doing service calls.”
Students needing a ride will also likely see a faster response from the department.
“What’s nice about the Bison Express program is that’s what it’s solely there for,” Office Manager of Public Safety Kayla Brown said. “If students have an appointment where they have to be somewhere at a specific time, they don’t have to worry about if we’re on a call — we can get to them quicker.”
A feature of the Bison Express that differs from the traditional department transportation services is that the program uses a car. The department used golf carts to transport students in the past.
“Students will hopefully see this as a nice alternative to the golf cart, especially in the winter months,” Davis said.
Sophomores Ashley Taylor and Lakin Coffman think the use of a car will allow the program to appeal to more students.
“I think it’s better they use a car instead of a golf cart for safety reasons and for the cold,” Coffman said. “You’re not going to freeze.”
Taylor agreed that cold temperatures will be an influencing factor to use the Bison Express and said the use of a car will lessen the need for students to ask to borrow each other’s vehicles as well.
“Your friends are busy,” Taylor said. “You don’t want to be a burden to them.”
According to Davis, the ultimate goal of the Bison Express is to serve students in the best way possible.
“I hope it’s going to be a crime deterrent and prevention tool as well, in addition to providing the same or even better level of service we’ve always given,” Davis said.
The Bison Express operates seven days a week, from 7 p.m. until curfew. For more information or to contact the Bison Express, call 501-279-5000.