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Shuttle services to make changes to routes

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A flier plastered on walls across campus states students are not receiving quality shuttle service and encourages Bobcats to call Texas State’s transportation providers to demand longer hours, more summer routes and Sunday buses.

flier

Nancy Nusbaum, interim director of Transportation Services, said the flier was brought to her attention a couple of weeks ago and it came as a surprise. However, Nusbaum said it is not the first time she has seen the document.

Nusbaum said the flier first appeared last summer, but complaints did not increase then and Transportation Services has not seen an influx of feedback since the document’s reappearance.

She said the department plans to make several changes to bus loops by increasing the frequency of the routes, but they are at a disadvantage without cooperation from students. If students want change, Transportation Services needs more information in order to make adjustments to the problematic routes.

Nusbaum said Transportation Services could preplan and adjust routes if they knew where majority of the students live. Instead, the department employees use the information available to them and make adjustments throughout the semester by monitoring the student population themselves.

To monitor student population, Transportation Services employees have to manually watch how many people board a bus and review feedback on social media. The department then makes changes for the following semester when it’s “too late,” she said.

The quantity of shuttles puts Transportation Services at a disadvantage. A single bus costs approximately $400,000 annually, Nusbaum said. Construction in the city affects bus routes as well. The work on Loop 82 caused four routes to be detoured.

Steven Herrera, shuttle manager, said services will add one more bus during the morning periods of the LBJ and Wonder World route.

Campus loop operational periods will increase for the spring semester with services beginning at 7 a.m. Three buses run during peak periods, Nusbaum said.

She said shuttle services will not be provided on Sundays because there is not even enough ridership on Saturdays.

Nusbaum said Transportation Services is at a disadvantage because they use local addresses to determine where students live, but students don’t update their information.

“We’d like to be able to do that under the information we get from our students, but we can’t get that,” Nusbaum said. “We tried.”

Student addresses are used to determine where concentrations of student populations are and the information is used to determine continued use of a bus service. However, because more student complexes are being built, Bobcats will move to different areas, impacting other routes by increasing or decreasing ridership.

The Wonder World bus route has a ridership so low that the route could be eliminated completely, Nusbaum said. This could only happen if student fees no longer covered the cost of the bus contract, diesel costs and other expenses.

“When it becomes more to run the service than the value of it, then you have to make a business decision,” Nusbaum said. “We can extend hours during the day. We can extend service during (the) evening, but we would have to eliminate something else.”

Sarah Halmon, communication design freshman, said she appreciates the bus service having an app to track buses in real time and believes there is quality shuttle service during the week.

Halmon said she would like shuttles to run more frequently on the weekends so she could get to and from her car without having to contact Bobcat Bobbies.

Brittany Robinson, public relations sophomore, believes Transportation Services officials could be making “smarter” decisions.

“They should work out the timing better,” Robinson said. “There should never be two buses behind each other. They should have more night buses though.”