ACES hasn’t been ace-ing its quality of service as of late

Zach Blair

Augustana College Express Service (ACES) is one of the most frequently accessed services on campus. Many students rely on ACES for those instances where it’s late at night and they might need to hitch a ride from Westerlin to Andreen or from Swanson to Erickson – practically anywhere within this campus!

However, what happens when ACES falters? What would dependent students do during those occurrences, and what if those occurrences seem to be never-ending, creating a ubiquitous sense of unreliability? 

When users request an ACES ride, they run the risk of having to wait upward of 30 minutes when the app predicts a brief 10-minute wait. How could this be? 

“We work with what we’re given. As of right now, we have an availability of two vans. But because of mechanical problems and issues and short staffing, we’ve been forced to just be running one,” sophomore Luis Navarrete, one of the directors of ACES, said. “Therefore, that means if two people are ordering an ACES, sometimes [the van] is going to pick up one person and drop the other, instead of having two vans go for them simultaneously.”

Clearly, for Augie’s students, this isn’t the best news. Events don’t pause on this campus, and people always have places to be and people to see, whether it is having to travel to a study session with friends or hitching a ride to a hangout spot. 

Plus, last February has come with each Greek group’s rushing and pledging processes, adding onto the mass amount of activities that are already sitting on top of students’ plates. 

In that case, the fluid movability and deliverance of ACES is vital to students’ schedules, social situations and success. And from this, the reasoning and call for ACES to pursue overall better quality of service is evident. 

Luckily, there does seem to be some good news on the horizon, as ACES is one of the many hard-working bodies of assistance at Augustana, and these widespread issues are actively being dealt with. 

“First of all, one of the things that we want to keep doing for the rest of the semester is keep hiring new waves of people more regularly so we could have more shifts covered, which would probably benefit our overall quality of service,” Navarrete said. “[Short staffing] has been one of the main issues on why we have been closing early, so that’s an improvement that we need to make.” 

After talking with Navarrete, I think that there is a silver lining in regard to this whole predicament. Services on campus like ACES are there for students, so the dependence should remain, even though circumstances may seem bleak at times.

“We’re trying to make ACES run as smoothly as we can. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it shouldn’t feel like we’re leaving people to fend for themselves when it comes to getting around campus. No, we really want to be there. ACES is a service for students – it’s in our motto: ‘ACES is a service created by Augustana students for Augustana students,’” Navarrete said. 

In the end, sure, you may experience difficulties with ACES for these next few weeks, especially with an abundant number of students seeking rides all over the place – but that shouldn’t be a reason for not relying on one of the most continually reliable service providers on campus year after year.