With summer in full swing, many students have had to change the way they commute to class.
The Bobcat Shuttle, a bus system operated for students, faculty, staff and visitors at Texas State, stops operating in the afternoon, nearly five hours before the last class of the evening dismisses.
Transportation Services begins the development process for the shuttle in early spring, and is evaluated based on customer feedback, productivity of the routes and student enrollment numbers. The Transportation Services Advisory Council reviews the recommendations and then gives advice on the policies presented.
“Summer shuttle services operate on a reduced schedule compared to the fall and spring semesters, however the summer 2016 schedule included a 9.3 percent increase in service compared to summer 2015,” said Steven Herrera, Transportation Services assistant director.
During the summer session, Texas State charges an automatic fee of $95 included in tuition for the shuttle. A student can pay upwards of $133 when combining the shuttle service fee and the minimum fee of $38 for a parking permit.
For Fernanda Cabrera, a mass communication senior, class lets out after the shuttle operating hours. She was forced to ask her parents for help in paying for a parking permit.
“I’m doing an internship that is unpaid. It’s not like I can afford to pay that,” Cabrera said. “I’m paying the school with my tuition to get the bus, and I can’t even ride it back home because they stop. So now I’m having to pay more money for the (parking) sticker.”
Jarrett Moehn, a mass communication and electronic arts senior, said he walks 25 minutes to and from class because the shuttle doesn’t operate when his class ends.
“I don’t have a parking pass, never did, never will. So I’m just walking,” Moehn said. “It sucks, but there’s nothing I can really do about it. People have this problem every summer semester.”
Gilbert Martinez, School of Journalism and Mass Communication assistant director and senior lecturer, emailed Transportation Services after his students informed him the shuttle stops operating before his class ends. In response, Transportation Services encouraged Martinez’ students to purchase a summer parking permit.
Gabrielle Herrera, a public relations junior, was very upset after she found out the times the shuttle ran. She didn’t know what to do or where to park.
“I was crying because I was so frustrated. I was already calculating, like I did the whole google maps, like how long it was going to take me to walk home,” Herrera said.
Roommate to Herrera, Joseph Losoya, public relations senior, said he was prepared to walk to and from school every day from his apartment complex at the end of Aquarena Springs.
“If you provide (the shuttle) through the other semesters, why not now?” Losoya said. “It seems like Texas State is just trying to get money off this to pay for more parking.”
Losoya said some finals are scheduled at night, which will cause some students to walk home as late as 10 p.m. The roommates said the lack of shuttle access poses a concern for the safety of students.
“Do they want us to walk at 7:30 (at night) and then walk back at 10:00 at night,” Losoya said. “You can easily get jumped on finals week. Especially if they know that there’s no bus.”
For students who cannot take advantage of the shuttle services, Herrera said there are other transportation options available.
Students may purchase a valid parking permit, rent a ZipCar for use on campus, make use of the municipal bus system, and employ CARTS, which is free for students with a Texas State student ID. The Texas State Bike Cave also offers rental programs and sales on bicycles.