Cruiser lacking clarity

Starting today, Campus Cruiser will start its service one hour later, opening its free campus transportation at 6 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. Although the campus-wide e-mail that was sent last week promises “focusing resources on high-demand periods,” there is no articulation how specifically this is going to happen.

Students deserve to know why certain changes are taking place, as well as what Campus Cruiser is doing to implement those changes.

But with no specifics on decreasing hold times or increasing the number of cars during high volume nights, it is impossible for students to know if the recently announced change will benefit them.

It’s not hard to find people who have had problems with Cruiser’s service. Students routinely complain about not being able to reach an operator, having to wait 30 minutes or more for a car, or sometimes not getting picked up at all.

The recent change to Cruiser’s operating hours seems like it could be an attempt to address some of these issues, at least during peak hours. But why can’t Cruiser tell us specifically what changes they are making?

In general, Cruiser’s policy could benefit from more transparency.

For instance, many students don’t know the automated text or phone call we receive about a cruiser being outside is not a system of communication from the cruiser car to your cellphone. It’s an automated service punched in by the operator you talked to 40 minutes ago that calls sometime “around” the quoted time. Thus, it becomes a student’s responsibility to note the quoted time and come outside a few minutes before estimated, rather than waiting for the call before casually walking toward the elevator.

Just as with the change in hours, students deserve to know how Campus Cruiser operates.

Campus Cruiser is, and will continue to be, a highly demanded service at USC. But any change in hours, cars or funding requires  open and honest communication with Campus Cruiser’s highest stakeholder —  the students.

Lauren Yun is a junior majoring in psychology.

23 replies
  1. Tim
    Tim says:

    DT and Lauren Yun,

    This is a textbook case of why the Daily Trojan is a pathetic excuse for our school newspaper. Check out the Daily Bruin for an example of what the DT could be. Since this article touches on misappropriation of USC resources, I think it’d be worth it to have a discussion on whether the USC community is best served by the 4x/week distribution of tens of thousands of copies of this worthless paper. How many more Cruisers could we hire if the entire editorial and publication staff of the DT was reassigned to ATVN’s online bureau and worked for free? Paid journalists and editors shouldn’t be allowed to publish articles like this one. What if we eliminated the printing of the DT and went online-only to save the environment and our tuition money?

    USC – if you want real campus news, please read ATVN (

    There are BLATANT errors in this article, the most egregious being the author’s non-objective point of view and the fact that Cruiser text/phone notifications ARE issued by a command from the car’s driver. I’m not even a Cruiser and I know that. Also, how did you write this ENTIRE article without mentioning USC Transportation and its role in setting the Cruiser budget?

    Cruisers, most of us USC students DO appreciate you. Campus Cruiser is absolutely the most comprehensive safe rides organization at any university that I have heard of and it does a fantastic job overall.

    Lauren Yun – in your extensive research for this article, did you ever come across the fact that drunk USC students puke in Campus Cruisers fairly regularly on Thursday nights and that the cruiser driver is responsible for cleaning up the vomit? Does that change your perspective on the level of service that our FELLOW TROJANS are providing to us, FOR FREE?

    If you have problems with Cruiser’s service, please take a taxi, and remember to tip your driver well.


  2. Viktor
    Viktor says:

    As embarrassing as a blatant fact error is in any newspaper article, perhaps even more embarrassing is the absence of a correction, despite being called out on the flaw. Good to see that even though the information about the calling system is incorrect, it still stands in the article.

    Perhaps the DT needs clarity instead of Cruiser.

  3. evan
    evan says:

    I have no problem with an article taking to task Campus Cruiser. All campus organizations should be critiqued for the betterment of the university. But it seems like the writer sat down, banged out 350 words on her feelings about the changes, and called it a day.

    Others have already pointed out egregious fact errors. I will point out stylistic ones:

    1.) “Students routinely complain about not being able to reach an operator, having to wait 30 minutes or more for a car, or sometimes not getting picked up at all.” … whether or not that’s true, your saying so doesn’t prove it. If, as you say, “It’s not hard to find people who have had problems with Cruiser’s service,” then WHY DIDN’T YOU FIND ANY to interview? It would’ve made this article longer and better substantiated.

    2.) “In general, Cruiser’s policy could benefit from more transparency.” Is there any easier way to make a quick point without doing any work?

    This article was short, to whatever point the writer was told to find, and completely devoid of anything worth publishing in the paper. If you’re going to pick on Cruiser, make it count!

  4. 3 yr Campus Cruiser!
    3 yr Campus Cruiser! says:

    I understand your concern about ALL THE PROBLEMS I’m sure you truly believe cruiser to have BUT nothing you have said is really true at all. This is quite a poor attempt to bring news to the USC community…had you asked any campus cruiser at all they would most likely be happy to discuss with you the Campus Cruiser policies and why things like long holds and wait times (which are rarely over 15minutes) occur…and most of the reasons are because of students like yourself that probably call into cruiser and refuse to go outside to their car unless they get a phone cal or text..which makes no sense..We give you an ETA, so use it…So if people stopped missing there calls then wait times would be lower and guess what hold times would be shorter too!

  5. Cruiser
    Cruiser says:

    Seriously, the university of spoiled children needs a wake-up call. If that means waiting for your free ride, I must be crazy.

  6. student
    student says:

    “It’s an automated service punched in by the operator you talked to 40 minutes ago that calls sometime “around” the quoted time. Thus, it becomes a student’s responsibility to note the quoted time and come outside a few minutes before estimated, rather than waiting for the call before casually walking toward the elevator.”

    Did you do any research whatsoever, or just base this on assumption? Your call is sent by your driver once the car arrives. Beside that, it is a courtesy, and if you are given an ETA, you are expected to be waiting for your car at your pickup location at the time given.
    “Casually walking toward the elevator…” I’ve had it with entitlement at this school. Maybe a little appreciation for the students who actually have to work to pay for tuition?

  7. Student
    Student says:

    This article should be tagged with “incompetent writing” or “falsified information”.

    Both work better than inefficient communication.

  8. Cruiser
    Cruiser says:

    Would you do this job for free? I certainly wouldn’t. Getting yelled at and insulted by your fellow peers because you don’t have a trust fund to pay for college isn’t worth volunteering my time for.

    The wait time should not include the time you are on hold waiting for an operator to pick up – at any time, there could be up to twenty people calling in at the exact moment and when the drunk people are busy yelling at you for not giving them a ride right away, it takes some time to handle the other calls. And back in the day (two years ago) the wait time was over two hours long – I’m so sorry its inconvenienced you if you had to wait 15 minutes for a ride (sarcastic).

    I’m not trying to attack anyone who wants a safe ride to and from campus. The trams and express routes are there to supplement the drivers. Students try and lie to the phone operators to try and not take the tram which makes it inefficient. Is there anything different from entering a car full of strangers than a bus? The wait time will. The trams this semester have improved significantly with better tracking online. And on a Thursday if you are trying to get from New North to the Row, you can actually take Express which will hold up to 10 people so you don’t have to waste your breath arguing with the operator about how many people you have and why they can’t give you 3 vans.

    But when someone is calling to get a ride down the Row because their feet hurt from their heels, I think they are deserving to be made fun of. And sometimes its hard to be nice to every single person that you picked up during your 4/6/8 hour shift when countless others have berated you for being late by a minute or not receiving the text message they were promised. Oh, and after someone who was too drunk to handle themselves throws up in your car, it makes you a little bit angry.

    We are all students – midterms, finals, essays all apply to us too. So excuse us if we’re a little bit grouchy that we have to drive you and your drunk friends to some party after pulling an all-nighter and then having to work. None of us get a free ride when it comes to finals week.

    @Rachel: Drivers do not have friends in the car with them during their work shift. If they have their friends in the car, its by chance – we try and have social lives outside of serving the spoiled children of USC. And if you really wanted a drivers name, try asking them. We’re real people with real emotions and sometimes if you treat us like a human being with feelings, we might be nice enough to answer. Politely.

  9. student
    student says:

    Please do some actual reporting. Or even just read the official email that announced the change. You’ll notice it’s from USC Transportation, who are the ones who made the decision, not Campus Cruiser. This has absolutely nothing to do with Cruiser policy, but rather USC Transportation wanting to cut down on costs.

  10. rachel
    rachel says:

    It’s disappointing that this article seems to have completely fabricated info about how the call/text system works.

    On another note, though, just because a service is free for students (and appreciated) doesn’t mean we can’t hope to improve it. Campus cruiser definitely isn’t perfect, and while I’m sure some of the riders can be belligerent and annoying, the drivers ARE getting paid and they took this job of their own accord. Sitting in the back of a cruiser while a driver and their friends play loud music and make sexist comments, after waiting over an hour for the cruiser to show up (even if the estimated wait time was 30 minutes), isn’t perfect either but sometimes it’s the only choice for students who don’t want to walk home alone at night and can’t afford a car.

    Trams don’t go everywhere and that’s assumedly the point of campus cruiser, to make students feel safe — instead of being made fun of or attacked for wanting to get a ride at night. Dissing passengers online or even while they’re still in the car is totally unprofessional. I kind of wish the online tracking website told you the driver’s name or had somewhere to write in comments, because while the majority of drivers have been competent and polite, a couple have been downright reckless and rude.

  11. Jayson
    Jayson says:

    Really DT? Do you make it a priority to write a completely non-researched and untrue article at least once a year. I’m somewhat surprised you even got the time that we open know correct.
    1) The estimated time that a cruiser gives you has nothing with when you get the call/text you receive. If a cruiser is 10 min early or late, So will the call you receive.
    2) Have you ever listened to the call back system or read the text message?
    3) If your phone is in your purse or backpack, on silent, or does not have service you’re either not going to hear or receive your message until after we are gone. You know where busy when you call in and you have to wait on the phone, what makes you think we are going to wait outside your house all night?
    4) Lastly, all of us cruisers have to figure out a way home when we get off work at 3am, you know- AFTER CRUISER IS CLOSED!!! if you don’t want a safe ride in the 20 min eta you get, then have a back up plan. call a friend or a taxi even, take the tram that you can track ON YOUR PHONE.

    And if you don’t do that, at least write a paper worthy or a passing grade in WRIT 340

  12. Laura
    Laura says:

    While Ms. Yun suggests that it’s cruiser that “lacks clarity,” the USC community collectively lacks any consciousness of what cruiser really is: the most complex, free transportation system at any of the country’s universities. We pick you up and drive you (often inebriated and rude) to wherever you’d like to go, for 9 hours of the night, for free. If you feel inconvenienced because you must wait for that free service longer than you’d like, feel free to find another way to get home.

    But what I think is most important to mention is this: by pitting cruiser against “students,” the writer is suggesting that we are not students ourselves. We are. This article’s tone is condescending and rude, and essentially suggests that if you are so mistaken to need a job to pay for college, your fellow students will critique your shortcomings. If you are going to have the audacity to suggest that our system is not up to par, I’m sure any one of cruiser’s employees would gladly let you shadow us. I guarantee your mind would be quickly changed.

  13. Another Cruiser
    Another Cruiser says:

    if you want time to “casually walk toward the elevator”, be prepared to face over hour long ETAs starting at 6PM. we try to be as efficient as possible, and we cannot be when people treat it as a service that will wait on them hand and foot. you’re college students; take responsibility and be outside when we tell you it will be there. that being said, WE’RE college students, and it is COMPLETELY student-run, so if you can think of a more efficient way to go about the demand around campus, feel free to enlighten all of us.

  14. Cruiser
    Cruiser says:

    You literally could have talked to one of our 130 employees, 10 supervisors, or Manager and gotten at least SOME truth in this worthless article.

  15. Cruiser
    Cruiser says:

    Wait times would be shorter if people didn’t want rides from Gateway to Troy East or something ridiculous of similar nature. And I’m so sorry that a completely free service is inconveniencing you with extended wait times.

  16. DJ Tommy and The Trojans
    DJ Tommy and The Trojans says:

    I love Campus Cruiser. I dread the Trams. Many (not all) of the drivers (esp. route A and B) are rude, have road range, and talk on their phones while driving.

  17. Alec
    Alec says:

    Clarity: it’s a USC Transportation Service budget cut – Transportation, possibly one of the most important departments for students’ safety, I’d say even more so than DPS, provides mostly free services so it’ll be the first one to suffer. USC will continue to dump money into its athletic department instead.

  18. Cruiser
    Cruiser says:

    Yup- ditto to Ken’s comment below
    As a worker of cruiser, each driver presses a button on our screens saying that we have arrived. But regardless if a call goes through or not, its the person who is asking for a ride who holds the responsibility of checking up on the status of their cruiser. You can track where your cruiser is online- such a great resource if you dont like relying on the phone call/text. That way you dont have to wait on hold just to find out where your cruiser is.
    Cruiser is honestly a resource that has dramatically evolved over the years, and funds are being reallocated to having more drivers during these peak times instead of having them at the 5o clock hour. Cruiser has also gotten so many new vehicles as a part of the fund distribution as well, just fyi

  19. Ken
    Ken says:

    My friend works for Cruiser and I’ve ridden along a few times before and used the call-back system. The article is wrong in that you do get the call or text when the cruiser is outside. The cruiser presses a button on their computer and then the system calls your phone. So it’s not random from the dispatcher, it calls when they show up, but if you don’t have a signal when it shows up you won’t get the call.

    • b trojan
      b trojan says:

      Ken’s right. Or heaven forbid the dispatcher, who is trying to get through your call in 20 seconds or less, punches in one wrong digit for your phone number. Things can get a little frazzled at 1:45 am handling almost 100 calls an hour. Take responsibility and use the resources available (the online tracker and your ETA). We would please like to remind our patrons: Cruiser is a SAFETY service, NOT a free taxi. So ask yourself next time you call if you truly feel unsafe walking that distance. That would cut down call volume and wait times by a LOT.

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