Kats make tracks across Huntsville

The Facilities Management and Academic Affairs offices at Sam Houston State University have officially started “Kat Tracks”, the new convenience shuttle that safely transports students to and from campus to the Huntsville Target and Wal-Mart shopping centers in order to access necessities.

Many students that reside on and around campus are at SHSU without transportation for various reasons, but this makes getting around town difficult. Instead of relying on friends who have cars or ordering taxis to get the basics they need, “Kat Tracks” serves to get them where they need to go safely and cost-efficiently.

“The Vice President of Student Affairs, along with cabinet members have been discussing the development of [Kat Tracks] for a while now, so this Fall will act as our trial run to see how well the program does with the students,” said Laci LeNorman, assistant to Vice President of Facilities Management and executor of “Kat Tracks.”

The shuttle service started on Sept. 6 and will run through Dec. 2. The service is free of charge to all students with an active Bearkat One Card on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

“It is for anyone, not just students without cars, but students that don’t want to use gas or lose their parking spots,” LeNorman said.

Currently, H.E.B. is the nearest grocery store to SHSU, and it does not sell appliances, medicine or clothing. With “Kat Tracks” students will have no trouble in acquiring these necessities.

“I knew people who definitely would have benefited from that,” senior biology major Savanah Hamilton said. “It’s difficult to get things you need when you have no form of transportation, and don’t have the funds or help to buy a car. Some people are only able to attend college because of financial aid and this often means they don’t have the luxury of having their own car. A bus system to help with this issue would be a great asset to campus.”

Current SHSU staff members who have experience in driving commercial vehicles and have excellent driving capabilities volunteer to drive the 15-passenger “Kat Tracks” shuttle.

“They volunteer to help the students, and to let them know that the SHSU staff care and are here to help them,” LeNorman said. “The drivers have said that the students are excited to have the opportunity to get out and venture off campus, as well as meet other students.”

There are currently three volunteer shuttle drivers operating Kat Tracks.

“We had a really good run last week, and had several riders in every bus load,” Ernie Wilson said, who drove the shuttle last Wednesday. “As the students get more knowledge of it we will probably have to get a second bus, because every bus was full, and we had people waiting at every stop. I think it will take off as more students hear about it.”

The shuttle operates on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The shuttle picks up students at Lone Star Hall and Piney Woods Hall and drops them off at Walmart or Target, once every hour. The first pick up times are at 3:15 p.m. at Lone Star Hall and at 3:30 p.m. at the Piney Woods Hall on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The last pick up times are 6 p.m. at Lone Star Hall, 6:15 p.m. at Piney Woods Hall, 7:30 p.m. at Walmart and 7:45 p.m. at Target.

On Saturdays the shuttle picks up at 10:15 a.m. at the Lone Star Hall and at 10:30 a.m. at Piney Woods Hall. The last pick up times are at 4 p.m. at the Lone Star Hall, 4:15 p.m. at Piney Woods Hall, 5:30 p.m. at Walmart and 5:45 p.m. at Target.

“If anyone has questions or feedback, call the [Facilities Management] office. We would always like to know what we can do to enhance the student experience,” LeNorman said.

For more information call the Facilities Management Office at 936.294.3663. or email at facilitiesmanagement@shsu.edu.

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