The recent decision to hire Knoxville Area Transit to take over campus transportation has left some students with questions about the new program.
Kelly Dyer, a senior in psychology, is worried the van services currently provided by the university would no longer be available to students.
"Without the van service I cannot schedule my classes back-to-back," Dyer said. "I won't be able to just pick up the phone and ask for a ride. I'll have to stand on a corner and wait for the bus."
Dyer has been using the van services since January 2001. A bone in her hip that pops out of place if she walks long distances, up hills or stairs prevents her from safely and comfortably walking to class.
"I hate to see my money as a student and a taxpayer be spent on something that will hinder our students from getting safely around campus," Dyer said.
Stephani Choate, also a senior in psychology, has used the van services since Spring semester 2002 due to a fractured foot and knee surgery.
"The part that worries me most is the possibility that the phone services provided for the vans will no longer work," Choate said. "As long as it still runs basically the same as it is run right now, I would be more comfortable with the change."
The injuries Choate suffered last year made it a struggle to get to class unless she was dropped off directly at the building. She is concerned with the possibility that the new services will not drop students off right by the buildings for classes.
"The change will be fine as long as it is made sure that people get to the building they need to get to and not just in the vicinity," Choate said.
Another concern of Choate's is the number of drivers that will be provided by KAT for student transportation. Last semester a shortage of drivers caused her to be constantly late for classes.
"It would definitely be a concern if the switch to KAT doesn't provide enough drivers for the van services," Chota said. "However, I think it would be an improvement if KAT has more resources and can provide more drivers."
Belinda Boyd, director of marketing and development for KAT, said disabled students and non-disabled students have nothing to fear concerning the change in transportation services.
"We are working very closely with the disabilities office," Boyd said. "I really think the service is going to be great, (and) we're really hoping for a smooth transition."
Dan Carlson, director of the Office of Disabilities, assures students that KAT will maintain the same services that UT has provided in the past.
"People will be encouraged to use the KAT buses which will run every five minutes," Carlson said. "It will probably be quicker than the van services."
The new system is scheduled to begin in January 2003.