A common sight around San Marcos is the Bobcat shuttle service whisking students to and from the university. If someone lives off campus but is not in walking distance, then the bus is the way to get around. However, with such limited parking options for commuters, the buses have become increasingly crowded. Although this issue has arisen in the past, the back to back record breaking freshmen classes have brought this issue to a head.
This is really no surprise. Texas State has shown an inability to handle other issues related to the growing student population and the buses have been much of the same story. This problem is only exacerbated by ongoing construction and curious route decisions as well.
Many of the routes have been increasingly overcrowded. Whether it’s the stadium route or the Mill Street route, students are being forced to fight for spots on the bus. This had created a twofold problem. First, students end up late to class if they must wait for two or three passes before they can finally board the bus. This can affect attendance grades, time for testing and can cause stress and anxiety for the student population. Second, students are required to make room for another student that has disabilites. This is not the fault of the student but of overcrowding. With this problem more students would have to get off the bus and it would slow down the whole process in which that student can get situated.
The construction happening around San Marcos has slowed the bus routes down. For example, the waiting time from Bobcat Village to school has been as much as 20 minutes at times. Missing the bus the first time it comes around could keep you sitting at the bus stop for a decent amount of time.
Contributing to the problem are some of the route changes, such as the stadium route adding two new stops. While this has happened in the past, the changing population has now turned what was perhaps already the busiest spot into a grudge match. If someone’s stop on this route is Summit or Uptown Square, passengers should make themselves comfortable because they are not going anywhere anytime soon. With only twelve routes students are limited in their options.
This was a really bad decision on the administration’s part but solutions they can pursue exist. Students pay good money to attend this university and a basic thing like ensuring students can actually get to and from school on time should be a priority. The administration should find a way to make routes more efficient like cutting down on stops or changing where buses go to ensure students can board their buses. Adding more buses and drivers might cost the school money but it would alleviate at least part of the problem by making the routes faster or shorter. Another option would be to add larger buses to its fleet for its busier stops so overcrowding becomes less of an issue.
If the administration refuses to make changes, then it falls on students to do something. Prepare in advance so that getting to class on time is not an issue. If there is an important test that week, consider parking closer and walking or arriving however early one may need. Some apartment complexes even provide their own shuttle to help their residents skip the school shuttles entirely.
Too often people say this is how it has always been but that attitude is exactly why it becomes a problem year in and year out. There are solutions and the Texas State administration must look into it because while this year may be tolerable in their eyes, it will only get worse as each class gets bigger and bigger. Do something about it now so that it is not an issue for both these students and those down the road.
– Jordan Drake is a communications senior