Computer Science major Aaron Shakib, YC ‘19, recently created an app that allows students to book YU shuttles without using the YU Shuttles website. On November 9th he posted his app in the the Facebook group YU Marketplace, writing “The YU Shuttles website sucks. Use the app I made, you can book shuttles with it!” In his post he included links to his app for both Android and IOS. The post garnered over 80 likes and comments ranging from appreciation of Shakib’s efforts to hiccups in his system which students experienced after downloading the app.
Shakib’s comment that the “YU Shuttles website sucks” is a sentiment echoed by many students. Miriam Rosen, SCW ‘18, noted that “it’s really frustrating when I’m trying to book a shuttle and it makes me log out before I can log in.” This particular glitch in YU’s shuttle system was a grievance for many students The Observer spoke to.
Yakov Ellenbogen, YC ‘17, did express appreciation for the shuttles, telling The Observer, “I have used it pretty often during my time at YU, and it’s wonderful that we have a free service that normally works well allowing students to travel between the campuses.” However he also say that while “the app usually works really well, occasionally it can be frustrating.” Besides for the signing out to sign in problem, Ellenbogen also noted “that, more importantly, the app doesn’t really update you with cancellations, or to tell you when shuttles are running late. So you can wait for long periods of time not knowing when the next shuttle will come, or having to ask security.”
Shakib made his app to help mitigate these sorts of frustrations that students experience when booking a shuttle. Because the app allows YU students to book shuttles without going through the YU shuttles website students can simply avoid these frustrations entirely by staying away from YU’s shuttle website.
While Shakib’s app has some of its own issues, he assured students who commented about glitches that he was working on updating the app and addressing any problems. For example, Shakib noted that “Sometimes it can take a little while for the reservation to show up on YU’s end [or to get] the confirmation email.” He said that while he has experienced these delays himself, “if the app did say “shuttle booked!” [then] I can assure you it was booked. This is my first time building an app, so I’m trying to fix these issues as they come along.”
Shakib also noted that many of the issues with the app were due to increased traffic once he shared it with the rest of the university. “The app has worked for me. Before I launched it, I had it on my phone as well as on the phones of a select few beta testers. Other than it running slow, we haven’t had any huge issues. That being said, there should be updates to resolve any issues that came with the increased traffic.”
Shakib said that he knows of “several students that have tried to get YU to adopt a new platform, but they weren’t open to it.” When asked if any YU administration had contacted him about his app, Shakib responded that “I haven’t heard anything from the school yet. I’m not exactly sure how they will respond to it, or even if it will show up on their radar. There is a possibility that they will make me shut it down, and they have that right.” But he noted that “until I hear something from their end, I plan on leaving it up. Shuttles are a necessity, and it should be as easy as possible for students to book them.”