Bus company in the dark with emergency alerts
COLUMBIA– A shuttle service responsible for bringing residents back-and-forth to campus is citing a communication breakdown for its slow response to Wednesday's threat on MU's campus.
Green Way Shuttles said without access to MU Alert, the university's emergency monitoring system, its response to active threats on campus is delayed.
"I would love to get my management team and all my drivers on it," said Doug Dickherber, Owner of Green Way. "They're saying because we're not students or faculty that we are not allowed to be on it."
Green Way has a 14 busses servicing 20 different student housing complexes around Columbia. Nearly 10,000 travelers ride on their shuttles daily.
"We had three busses on campus at the time the threat went from just active to a high-level threat of a person with a gun," Dickherber said. "They all left campus before their designated time slot. We basically had to push them off of campus, just said 'Go now, we ain't waiting.'"
Dickherber said he depended on alerts through the GoMizzou app for updates on the active threat Wednesday.
One Green Way driver was concerned about the lack of organization and communication in an emergency situation.
"I heard it through students as they were getting on the bus," said driver Melissa, who asked for KOMU 8 to only use her first name. "I was upset because I was thinking I should have heard from [Green Way] first before I heard from anyone else, but I guess he didn't know about it either."
Despite the initial report from MU of an active threat at 11:30 a.m., Melissa said Green Way encouraged her to continue her route.
"Another driver had just called [Dickherber] and said something about the alert," Melissa said. "He told me 'We're fine, just keep running.' I said, 'I'm not going anywhere.'"
At least four housing complexes sent emails to residents suspending shuttle service to campus during the threat. However, one of these cancellations came as late as 1:30 p.m. – nearly two hours after the first emergency notification.
One student housing complex manager said they make decisions on shuttle service at the speed that they receive information from MU.
In an email Thursday afternoon, MU announced changes to its MU Alert system allowing anyone to opt-in to emergency notifications.
The email also laid out changes to university emergency management protocol.
"We heard that many on campus were not clear what action to take... We want to remind you that each situation is unique and, as such, it is important that each individual think about how to respond to a critical incident."