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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    University opens up about closed back doors

    Students may be getting a longer ride than they bargained for when they get on campus buses this semester.

    The rear doors on the buses have remained closed, resulting in an extended waiting period to get on and off the bus. However, this minor aggravation is only temporary.

    “We purchased new Thomas buses back around Christmas 2010,”  said James O’Connor, director of Transportation and Parking Services.  According to O’Connor, the doors on the new buses differ from that of the Blue Bird Buses used prior to last semester.

    “There is a difference in quality and an interlock device on the rear door,” O’Connor said.

    According to O’Connor, while the new buses are better, the original Blue Bird buses had an interlock device, which acts as a safety system to stop the throttle if the rear doors open.

    The department of transportation is now retrofitting the same lock system onto the new buses. Until the repairs are finished and the interlock system is installed, the back door will have to continue to not be used “in the essence of safety,” O’Connor said.

    The issue should be corrected within three to four weeks.

    Passengers on the buses state that this move has been quite the inconvenience.

    “There is no order really,” Kyle Engel said. “When they both open there is an option.  Now we have a mass of people trying to get on. It affects both entry and exit.”

    Remya Uthup, a senior, had her own opinions on the mater.

    “It’s stupid,” Uthup said. “Why pay so much money to have to change the lock system?”

    In all, students feel the same about the back door not being in use. There is an air of aggravation among students when they realize the door will not open. Students instinctively move toward the door, only to remember that it is no longer an exit.

    “We realize they are important,” O’Connor said in reference to the rear exits. He also acknowledged that the department is aware of these concerns.  According to O’Connor, the transportation department employs 40 drivers and has more than 60 buses. Not only must the department retrofit the new buses with the same lock system, but they must also train all drivers on the new system.

    As a safety precaution, there is an emergency release valve so the back doors have the ability to be opened in case of an emergency.

    “Emergency levers should be treated as such,” David McAvoy, the transportation fleet manager, said. McAvoy stressed that the emergency valve is an important safety feature, but its use has increased recently.

    On using the lever to exit through the rear door, McAvoy expressed his opinion in short, “It should not be done.”

    While the annoyance of having to stay on the bus a few seconds longer has pained and annoyed students, things will return to normal.

    “It is a non-issue,” O’Connor said. “Operations will continue soon.”

     

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