Mills is considering hiring a private company to take over the van service, according to an administration official.
Vice President for Business Affairs Karen Maggio said that no changes have been made, but that the college is looking into contracts and assessing their options.
The consideration came, Maggio said, after she received complaints from students about the current van service.
Sophomore Jocie Keane said that the van service “[hasn’t] been very satisfactory.” Keane pointed to the lack of late-night runs, a shortage of seating and scheduling issues as areas in which the van service could be improved. “It’s very disorganized right now, and it’s kind of frustrating … a lot of us have been e-mailing the Division of Student Life to complain,” she said.
Freshwoman Ann Hoang said that she has observed some unprofessional behavior among van drivers. “I’ve seen some drivers talking on cell phones and taking personal calls [on duty].”
And while Cayce Begin, a freshwoman, has “never had a bad encounter with drivers,” she said that she has “had vans come early and leave early.”
While many students would like to see improvements to the van service, some have mixed feelings about contracting out to a private firm. “I could see that a private firm may be a bit more professional when dealing with the students, but it may also be more impersonal,” said junior Leah Albin.
Junior Jessica King agreed that outsourcing the van service could have mixed effects. “The drivers are generally really nice to students. Sometimes they drop them off closer to their house. With a contracted van service, I don’t think you’d get that,” she said.
Other concerns about contracting out to a private company include the impact it would have on Mills employees. “I don’t know how long these people worked here, and it would be nice if they still had their jobs,” said freshwoman Jacquie Hugo.
Some students feel that the van service has improved from last year.
“It’s getting a lot better,” said senior Emily Eisele. “It’s gotten more reliable on the times this year, and it being included in your [campus fees] is really great.”
Maggio indicated that the possibility of outsourcing was being investigated because the administration is “always looking for ways to improve service,” adding that an additional “late night run” was just added to the van schedule. As far as additional student concerns, Maggio said, “We don’t know [what they are] unless they tell us.”