Last December, BYU made the announcement about their new parking regulations and shuttle services. Starting Fall 2015, shuttles will run throughout the day, coming every 15 or 20 minutes to take students to and from campus. This system encourages students to leave their cars at home, but they will still be able to purchase a parking pass for $60 each semester if necessary. Sounds like a pretty good system, right? Yet the changes have received a lot of backlash from students. I'll admit I initially wasn't too keen on the idea either, even after understanding how it would benefit both BYU and Provo transportation. Despite the obvious pros, I liked the idea of driving to campus whenever necessary and avoiding a crowded bus, even if it meant endlessly scanning parking lots for a nonexistent parking space. But why did my mind insist upon the idea of driving when there was an easier option? What was making me push against this? Eventually, I realized that parking my car wasn't the issue; it was my desire to preserve my private space.
We live in a society that continuously promotes private space. We like to have our own rooms, our own cars, our own place to think. It's evident in the daily life of a student: we don't sit close to others in class, we like to study alone at our own tables - we just like to keep to ourselves! Having our own cars creates a private space and form of transportation that we have control over. That sense of power gives us comfort in knowing that we can go wherever we want, whenever we want. Depending on a shuttle system takes away that private space, forcing us to interact with others and to sacrifice the control we long to have over our private spaces. Students don't like the idea of relying on a system of transportation that is outside of their control and I suspect this is a big part of why students are so resistant to the new shuttle system.
Many students will inevitably purchase a parking pass to avoid taking the shuttles, but I think that utilizing the shuttle system will ultimately be a good change in the BYU community. Obviously it will help with car control, but more importantly it will encourage students to give up a little bit of their private sphere to engage with the public sphere, whether by walking or commuting with others to campus. We influence our environment more than we realize; how boring and unwelcoming would it be if we all stayed stuck in our own little private realm? I believe these changes are a step in the right direction for providing private students with abundant opportunities to change the Provo community for the better. It encourages individual people to come together, get to know their neighbors, and unify as a community to improve the overall Provo environment.