UCSF Senior Vice Chancellor Gives Update on Shuttle Safety

Peter Davis, campus fleet and rideshare manager

Peter Davis, campus fleet and rideshare manager, stands in front of one of the new, larger “Aero Elite” shuttles that include new seatbelts.

UCSF Senior Vice Chancellor John Plotts today updated the campus community on ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of the campus shuttle system following the fatal accident on July 14 in Hayes Valley.

Here is his entire email sent to the UCSF community on Dec. 12:

In the wake of the tragic shuttle accident in July that resulted in the death of UCSF psychiatrist Kevin Mack, MD, MS, Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH asked a dedicated team of UCSF staff to focus on identifying and implementing measures to ensure our community’s safety when riding on our shuttles. I wanted to update you on our progress.

Since July, the following has been implemented:

  • Lap belts were installed in all our shuttle vehicles. Although seatbelts are not required, we have made them available to all passengers using UCSF shuttles.
  • Starting this month, all shuttles will have signage on the exterior and the interior stating “Safety is my goal” with a vehicle ID number and telephone hotline 1-888-264-7233 (1-888- AM-I-SAFE). The hotline will be answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Any feedback — negative or positive — will be quickly reported to management. The UCSF Transportation Department will follow up on all reports, addressing problems when they occur and providing recognition for good drivers.
  • New signs were installed inside the shuttles to guide passengers, including signs notifying them of the availability of seatbelts.
  • Effective November 1, the Tan and Black schedules were modified and the Red route adjusted to allow more time to complete each route and to improve reliability and safety. Other routes continue to be evaluated, especially during peak hours.

In addition, our shuttle operations have recently undergone two formal reviews. A UC task force, which included experts from other campuses that operate shuttles as well as transportation experts from the University of California Office of the President, conducted the first review. It was followed by a peer review by the American Public Transportation Association, which included experts from across the country as well as a member from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

Both groups were impressed by the overall operations and safety record of our shuttle services. Additionally, the groups provided recommendations and ideas for changes in our operations. We already have begun implementing some of the suggestions, such as adding handrails to our larger buses, updating our drivers’ job descriptions and enhancing training. Other ideas will be considered by the campus Transportation Advisory Committee in the next several months. 

The measures already taken bolster the many safeguards already in place that support our shuttle program, now 30 years old. Our vehicles travel 1 million miles annually, carrying 2.3 million passengers. We are committed to ensuring the safety of the shuttle operation, its passengers and the public.