The Bobcat shuttles are a major mode of transportation for students, faculty and staff moving to, from and about campus. The system is supported solely by students, who pay a bus fee at registration each semester. However, the shuttles service the general public as well, meaning nearly anyone could get on at any given time. Strangers with access to a Texas State bus could prove threatening if someone with poor intentions hopped on.
Texas State already issues each student a Bobcat ID card, used for meal swipes, building access and occasionally attendance. It serves as identification and a safety precaution. Anyone who attends or works for a college or university has some sort of a school ID. However, using this method as a safety measure is not fully utilized to guard students, faculty and staff on the buses.
Thousands of students and faculty ride the shuttles to and from class or various locations around San Marcos. That’s thousands of lives that could be affected if someone with dangerous intent got on a bus. This is why, each time a passenger gets on a shuttle, they should have to swipe their Bobcat card, verifying they attend Texas State or are related to the institution in some way. Other universities, such as Texas A&M, already require students to verify their identity via student ID to ride a bus. Every institution should follow this trend, especially universities with larger populations and locations in larger population areas, as both factors come with a higher risk.
With each student paying $95 each semester for the bus service, there is enough room in the budget to install ID swipers at each entrance of a shuttle, especially given the fact it would be a huge added safety precaution. Given that students fund the bus system, there is no reason why general public should be granted free rides, as they don’t pay tuition for the privilege. Student safety should be the number one priority since they pay for it.
San Marcos offers other forms of public transportation, like a bike-sharing program, Bike Cave and CARTS, a transit system that takes passengers around San Marcos and to Austin. The Bobcat Shuttles are not the only way for people to get around, but make it easier on Texas State students to get from one side of campus to the other or around the city if they do not have cars. With the allowance of the general public to ride the Bobcat shuttles, students blend with faculty who in turn blend with potentially unpredictable individuals.
Placing students high on the priority list is not something Texas State is always known for. However, having Transportation Services adjust the bus service budget in allocating appropriate funds for ID swipers to be added to enter a Bobcat shuttle, safety would be put first. Keeping students, faculty and staff secure and not allowing general public access to the shuttles is a good start the institution could take to becoming more student oriented.
– Bayley Bogus is a journalism junior