We are extremely pleased to have an opportunity to provide shuttle services for the off-campus students at Texas Southern University for the 2022-2023 academic year. It’s always a privilege to serve an institution that has historically and tirelessly supported the African- American community and has been an exemplar for diversity, equity, and inclusion for those pursuing higher education.
Managing Partner Charter Linkz
Texas Southern University (TSU), nestled upon a sprawling 150-acre campus with more than 45 buildings in South Central Houston, is one of the nation’s largest public historically black universities.
Founded in 1927, TSU possesses an impressive array of more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs with an academic curriculum organized into 10 different colleges and schools. With more than 7,500 undergraduate and graduate students from across the world, TSU has become one of the most diverse institutions in Texas.
The university is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and it is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It also serves as a notable economic resource for Greater Houston, contributing over $500 million to the region’s gross sales and being directly and indirectly responsible for over 3,000 jobs.
TSU’s Office of Residential Life and Housing aims to support the learning experience of each student by creating a safe, supportive learning environment for academics as expressed in the TSU motto “excellence in achievement.” To that end, there are multiple off-campus housing sites located within the vicinity of the campus. As of late 2022, four of those properties provided housing for approximately 895 students.
In late summer 2022, TSU Procurement Services issued a request for proposal (RFP) for a new transportation partner that could provide shuttle services starting in October 2022 for academic year 2022/2023. This would specifically involve providing students living in off-campus residential housing with a back-and-forth shuttle service to the main TSU campus.
The bus shuttle would be operational 7 days per week from 6AM to 1AM (19 hours per day). Service would be maintained for four off-campus housing sites where approximately 800+ students would be transported daily.
Charter Linkz, a leader in nationwide ground transportation and logistics, provided a competitive proposal based on TSU’s request for the most “advantageous proposition to the institution” and was promptly awarded the business. The specific criteria that Charter Linkz was evaluated for included:
Upon the announcement of the award by TSU, Joseph Jacovino, President and Managing Partner of Charter Linkz, said “We are extremely pleased to have an opportunity to provide shuttle services for the off-campus students at Texas Southern University for the 2022-2023 academic year. It’s always a privilege to serve an institution that has historically and tirelessly supported the African-American community and has been an exemplar for diversity, equity, and inclusion for those pursuing higher education.”
After being awarded the contract, Charter Linkz, based in New York, quickly went into action to serve the off-campus students in Houston with a superlative shuttle service.
“We worked expeditiously to get our buses that would be fully ADA compliant in position for the new academic year,” said Jacovino. “Exceptional drivers with a valid Texas commercial driver’s license also needed to be carefully screened and hired for this important contract that had to be executed safely and flawlessly.” He further added, “Ultimately, I’m proud to say we successfully shuttled students 7 days per week, 19 hours a day, all while maintaining 30-minute intervals between off-campus housing facilities and the TSU main campus.”
As part of the shuttle service, Charter Linkz had to ensure that all vehicles had properly functioning HVAC systems and were equipped with a global positioning system (GPS) for transparency. The GPS would assist both Charter Linkz and TSU in determining which shuttle routes are on-schedule and any that might be late so corrective action could be taken. Specifically, the GPS would provide timestamps whenever a bus would arrive and depart from designated shuttle stop locations.
The GPS system also had the capability of providing exportable activity reports that detailed arrival and departure times from shuttle stop locations. Moreover, it provided safety/security alerts for speeding and prolonged stops. Geofencing, which provides a virtual perimeter around a physical location such as the TSU campus and off-campus housing sites, would also send alerts in the event that buses traveled outside assigned territory or crossed into restricted zones.
Other than monitoring for performance, safety, and security, another big advantage of the GPS provided by Charter Linkz was its seamless integration with a user-friendly website. TSU students and staff could easily access this website from computers and smartphones with a mobile app where they could view the exact location of any particular shuttle in real-time. Additionally, Charter Linkz provided all the following for TSU’s off-campus student shuttle service:
Charter Linkz is a national bus charter rental company based out of New York/New Jersey. We have been providing premier ground transportation services for decades (and counting) and pride ourselves in being able to make traveling and event-planning easy for our customers that include corporations, non-profits, schools, and government agencies (federal, state, and local). Charter Linkz is also a registered government provider for disaster recovery and emergency services transportation. We work with FEMA and the federal government to bring first responders directly to the source.
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