Meet newly-employed Ram Van driver and FCRH junior Rebecca Brown as she divulges the inside scoop on the tedious training, not-too-shabby compensation, and hilarious Ram Van drama.
Fordham students seem to have a love/hate relationship with the intercampus transportation service better known as the ‘RamVan.’ The Ram Van, a student-run entity, drives students between the four different Fordham campuses (Rose Hill, Lincoln Center, Calder Center and Tarrytown.
Some prefer the Ram Van to Metro North or the subway because of its on-campus convenience and safety. Others avoid it at all costs because of the long and bumpy ride.
Regardless, those of us who do use the Ram Van probably don’t think too much about who is driving….until today.
What initially made you interested in driving the Ram Van?
Some of my friends started driving the Ram Van last year and I needed a paying job while at school this year, so I applied! Plus, it’s right on campus so it’s super convenient for me to get to.
What type of training do you go through?
I was in the early arrival session this year, so I came to school early for a week of training. It included some classroom training where we learned about the procedures and went over safety information while driving. However, the majority of the time was spent driving the vans with different trainers in order to learn the routes.
Would you have changed anything about the training?
There isn’t anything I would’ve changed about the training. The only thing I really had problems with when I started was learning how to use the computer to print out the [sign-up] list. But after a couple of shifts I got the hang of it and now everything is pretty seamless.
What did you learn about the Ram Van that you wouldn’t have known before being a driver?
Before driving, I never realized how large the Ram Van is and how it is much more involved than simply taking trips to LC and back. There are about 125 of us that drive to LC, the Calder Center, Westchester, NYC airports, and other special runs.
How do you feel about the routes that you’re required to take?
At first I was really nervous I wouldn’t be able to remember all of the different routes, but it has been really easy so far. Before we leave each campus we call into the dispatcher, who tells us which route will be the fastest at that time. This makes things much easier for the drivers.
How much money does the Ram Van cost?
One-way tickets for the Ram Van are $3. Students can purchase tickets in discount books which makes it a bit cheaper. If students are taking the ram van to LC for classes they can also apply for passes so that they get the tickets for free.
Do you think this cost is appropriate?
I think the cost is very reasonable, especially if you compare it to the ridiculous cost of the Metro North.
How many students does each van hold?
Each van holds 14 passengers and there are typically 2 vans for every shift. They all fill up pretty quickly so it’s nice to know that everyone really does use this service.
What are the benefits of taking the Ram Van over the train?
Reliability and convenience. The van runs at the same times every day, and the new online sign-up system guarantees seats. Also, the walk to and from the ram van office is much more convenient (and a lot safer) than to the Metro North, D, or the 4.
Are there a lot of drivers to switch off with?
Yes, there are about 125 drivers so there is always someone willing to pick up a shift or swap shifts with you if you give enough notice.
How much do you get paid?
About $10 an hour for most shifts, but for weekends and late night shifts, it’s a couple dollars more an hour.
What do you like the most?
The work environment at Ram Van is awesome. Everyone who works there is really close and gets along so well. I’ve made a lot of my closest friends through training. We’re like a family!
And the least?
Traffic! I work a couple of rush hour shifts so the traffic can get a little frustrating.
What’s the craziest thing that has happened to you while driving?
I work Saturdays until 3 am so a lot of the passengers on those rides are drunk and really funny. One guy asked me if I had a Tinder and told me he would ‘swipe to the right’ for me. Took me a little while to figure out what he was talking about, but I got the hint.
What would you want other students to know?
Always close the door if you are the last passenger getting off the van!
What hours does this service run?
Mon – Wed: 6:30 am – 12:00 am
Thurs – Fri: 6:30 am – 4:00 am
Sat: 7:30 am – 4:00 am
Sun: 8:00 am – 12:00 am
This interview has been condensed and edited