Temple FLIGHT: To Wait or Not to Wait?

Temple students are experiencing long wait times and cancellation issues with Temple’s on demand evening service FLIGHT, which runs 7 days a week until 3 am. 

With recent concerns about on and off campus safety, the university has increased FLIGHT operations and implemented new changes to its program. In a statement to Temple Update, Associate Director of Issues Management Steve Orbanek explained: 

“FLIGHT operations have increased by more than 30% as of the start of the spring semester. We officially added two new shuttles over the break, which went into operation in January. Our fleet includes a total of eight shuttles now.”

Eight shuttles means there are now 120 available seats for students. Each shuttle has 16 seats, with the exception of two buses that have 12 to accommodate spaces for wheelchairs.

But with over 30,000 owls on campus, and frigid temperatures, many find it difficult to secure a ride at certain times. 

Junior Kelly McGlinn says she avoids using FLIGHT.

“My roommate ordered a flight to Norris, and it took an hour and a half to get there,” she said.

But she isn’t the only student who feels that way. On social media, many students expressed their opinions on the ride service.

Thoughts ranged from frustration with wait times and pick up issues, to satisfaction with how convenient the app is. 

“I hate it,” one student simply wrote. Another saying, “Flight has abandoned me so many times, even after the extremely long wait. I wouldn’t mind waiting if I knew I would actually find a ride. I absolutely hate it.” 

One student said, “Personally, I love it! You definitely need to plan for it in advance – it certainly can take a while to come…however it’s really convenient for being free!”

With so many comments about long wait times, I decided to try it for myself.

I ordered my flight and tracked how long it took to come to my apartment. I did this twice, the first time my flight came in 20 minutes, only five minutes after my estimated arrival time. The second time, it did come two minutes early – but my flight drove right past my location about four minutes into my wait. This time I waited for 23 minutes before it arrived. 

Executive Director of Campus Safety Services Charles Leone says there is now an on-site manager to help troubleshoot issues.

“He can go in there and see if the algorithm is a little off. Say you have like five people and they want to get on the flight, it may take that as individual instead of group,” he said, adding that “a lot of those things he can fix in a minute.”

Orbanek says the university will be initiating surveys with FLIGHT riders this semester in order to help improvements to the service. 

If you ever have any problems with FLIGHT, you can call Richard Sutcliffe, the onsite manager, for assistance at 215-204-7377

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