SAN FRANCISCO - The University of California, San Francisco's effort to enhance the safety of its campus shuttle system, in the wake of a recent fatal accident, is on schedule and proceeding smoothly, according to a release from the University.

"We've installed retractable lap belts on 10 buses and will have them fully installed on the rest of the fleet by the end of August," said Kevin Cox, director of Transportation Services at UCSF. Installation began July 19, and the University will spend less than $2,700 per vehicle.

Although seat belts are not required in buses, UCSF opted to make them available to passengers of the free shuttle service as one of the initiatives to promote transit system safety following a collision on July 14 that killed one passenger and injured others.

In the days following the accident, UCSF transportation supervisors met one-on-one with shuttle drivers. They reviewed the key safe-driver techniques employed in UCSF's extensive training program -- a program that takes at least a month and is reinforced by regular in-field evaluations. In the longer term, Cox said, UCSF Transportation Services will conduct a full review of every aspect of its shuttle operation to look at policies, procedures, and practices and to make recommendations to improve the system.

UCSF operates the largest shuttle system in the 10-campus UC system with 53 individual shuttles (with 35-, 30-, and 22-passenger capability) and 72 drivers, according to the University. The vehicles average four years old. Shuttles are made to permit standing, and passengers will continue to be allowed to do so, Cox said.

"We cover 1,112,000 miles a year and there are 2.3 million annual shuttle boardings," said Peter Davis, fleet and ride-share manager at UCSF for 31 years.

A dedicated "Am I Safe?" telephone hotline is also in the works. Signs advertising the hotline will be installed inside and on the back of all shuttles, so that feedback -- both positive and negative -- can be expedited and addressed, according to the University.

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