University leases new customized buses


Photo by David Campbell/University Photographer

After 11 years, Alabama State University leased four new buses with enhancements such as electrical plugs, chargers, monitors and HDMI ports as transporation for students, faculty and administrators.

Kendal Manns, Assistant Sports Editor

Transportation for students and student athletes at Alabama State University is finally upgraded.
A new fleet of buses pulled onto the campus on Feb. 10, and they are replacing the decade-old buses that were leased in 2009.
These buses are black with several enhancements such as electrical plugs for computers and chargers, along with monitors that include HDMI ports. Another safety design is the plexiglass partition for the bus driver due to COVID-19.
The university president believes that the investment was long overdue and that the new buses will assist in advancing the branding of the university along with the passenger experience for students and others who travel on behalf of the university.
“It was certainly time for a new fleet,” said President Quinton T. Ross, Jr., Ed.D. “Our old buses had been in service for more than a decade, and they were well used. These ‘rolling billboards’ really help in our efforts to continue to advance the Alabama State University brand. Each year, our custom-wrapped buses are seen across the country. They definitely are another means of promoting our great university.”
As with any significant upgrade, some students are all for it, and others have concerns.
Students like sophomore communications major Payton Markham are in the latter group.
“I don’t think there was really anything wrong with the old buses,” Markham said, who used to ride the old buses for Summer Bridge programs in the past. “They could have used the money to fix up the class buildings, potholes, and elevators, among other things.”
While Markham understands that the money could have been put to better use, other students understand why the decision to get new buses was seemingly necessary.
Senior interdisciplinary studies major and middle-distance runner Abdi Hussein was excited to find out the school had purchased the new buses, explaining how much help it will be when traveling for athletics.
“I think they could have definitely looked at other avenues that would enhance the student experience for the entire population, not just athletes, spirit groups, cheerleaders, and the selective folks that use those buses,” Hussein said.
The sleek design and fresh feel of the buses may garner a lot of attention as they go from state to state. The two iconic symbols of the Stinging Hornet and historic Bell Tower embody this institution’s great history.
The university also decided to purchase brand new buses due to the previous 10-year models’ shabby appearance.
Jalen Malone, a member of the Mighty Marching Hornets, highlighted his experiences with the old buses.
“They have plugs on the old buses, and some of them didn’t work,” Malone said. “They have bathrooms, and sometimes those didn’t work either.”
When asked for her opinion on the new additions, senior communications major Alexandria Williams felt like the investment of new buses was not a good choice.
“I feel like Dr. Ross is investing in the wrong things,” Williams said.
She went on to list things on campus that the money would be better suited for, including new washers and dryers, fixing up the band room and reconstructing old buildings like Simpson Hall, which hasn’t been renovated since its construction in 1966.
Williams echoed the same feelings that Abdi Hussein previously stated; a decision like this seems to only account for a select few students that will actually get to use them.
“We should be focused on more things for everybody,” Williams said.
These buses will get a tremendous amount of use in these next few months, and the lease will not be in vain.
Ross and the Vice President for Business and Finance Bill Hopper toured the buses when the fleet arrived on campus Feb. 10.
Ross said he’s excited that the buses could expose the name “Alabama State University” to new audiences.
“Who knows,” Ross said, “some high school students, or their parents, might see one of the buses on the road and be inspired to check out the Alabama State University.”