For many students who live off-campus, especially those who live on Mill Street, getting to class via the tram system has already become a challenge this semester.
The increase in population due to the “phase 2” completion of Copper Beech and Aspen Heights communities within the Mill Street area has caused intense congestion on the tram route. According to a Sept. 6 University Star article, an additional 1,000 students are using the Mill Street bus route this semester.
This surge in population numbers has resulted in many problems for students commuting to campus in a timely manner. Transportation Services should either plan to expand their Mill Street line with more buses, or split the current resources between separate Copper Beech and Aspen Heights routes.
I have learned getting to class on time from my home at Copper Beech requires catching a bus at least 45 minutes in advance. On some mornings while waiting for an available tram, I have seen two or three completely full buses pass by. Because of this, I now tend to leave my house at least an hour early. There have been many other residents who have experienced similar issues as well. When students wake up extra early to catch a bus to campus and end up getting to class 10 minutes late, it may discourage some from even trying to go in the first place.
There has been some confusion about the total number of buses on the Mill Street route. I have often stood at the bus loop wondering why more than a handful of Aquarena Springs buses have passed by while no Mill Street buses are in sight. Several buses should be relocated to the Mill Street route in order to adequately serve the area because of the huge influx of residents to both Copper Beech and Aspen Heights.
To make things even more convenient for students, separating Aspen Heights and Copper Beech into two bus routes could help relieve traffic. As the community of students continues to grow, the transportation system should become more streamlined and efficient. By dividing up the two complexes, the university could better ensure that students can travel to and from campus with greater ease.
This year, the traffic at The Quad bus loop has been frustrating for students. To help alleviate this issue, the university needs to better utilize the LBJ bus loop during the school week. If half of the total trams went to each area, it would be a lot easier to find a bus without having to push and shove to get there. Plus, overwhelming crowds become a safety hazard for tram drivers, especially when students stand close to the curb or in the path of oncoming buses.
Since campus population numbers have significantly increased each year, students end up spending many school days waiting at least half an hour for a bus to take them to campus. Overall, it would make sense to divide the existing number of buses between The Quad and LBJ bus loops to create less hassle.
Students’ lives will be made a lot easier if something is done to combat the congestion problems on the Mill Street route. If students want to see improvements any time soon, Transportation Services must implement changes as soon as possible.
—Alex Pernice is a mass communication sophomore.