Monday, October 6, 2014

Record enrollment causes overcrowding on shuttles

By Shay Fleming

SAN MARCOS – As Texas State looks to break enrollment records for its seventeenth consecutive year, the increase in student population has caused difficulty for students living off-campus.

“In the afternoons, it’s really hard to get on a bus,” said junior Brienna Jennings. “There’s a lot of pushing and shoving, and the busses always have everybody standing up.”

High traffic on campus and around the shuttles make makes it difficult for students to get to and from class. Jennings said the tram system is poorly scheduled and only makes traffic issues more prominent.

“They need to make the schedule times for the tram work better,” Jennings said. “Sometimes you’ll get, like, two busses back to back, and sometimes you’ll be waiting out for the bus forever, and you have to worry about being late.”

Despite complaints, members of the Department of Transportation assure passengers their tram schedules take student traffic into consideration. Tram schedules vary depending on the day and hour.

“We focus on how many students are in classes that day and when large numbers of students will be leaving campus,” said Interim Director of Transportation Services Nancy Nusbaum.

Texas State University set a record enrollment of 35,568 students in the 2013 fall semester and expects to set another record in the current year.

“Larger enrollment numbers will increase the university’s national profile, but I think the community should have some time to adjust,” said junior Kelly Phan.

Mid-morning and in the late afternoon, strain on the shuttle system increases with student traffic.

“It’s not so bad in the morning,” said junior Rachel Thigpin. “Nobody’s up yet. It’s not crowded at 8 a.m. When I go back to my car at 6 p.m., then it’s crowded. You have to wait and the bus is really full. Everyone is jammed together.”

Construction on campus has added strain to the shuttle system, changing the drop off points for several routes. Routes 24 and 25, which formerly dropped off students at the Quad, now let out at LBJ. Routes 20-23 took their place while the previous bus stop undergoes construction.

“The construction’s made it take a lot longer to get to school,” said sophomore Caitlin Grimes. “I wish my bus route was back where it had been last semester because now I have to walk a lot farther for my classes.”

Grimes considers the construction necessary to the continued growth of the school but still finds the daily struggle exasperating.

“It’s annoying because you never know if you’re going to have a bus,” Grimes said. “If you don’t have a spot on the bus when you get here, you might be late to class and you might miss class.”

All information regarding Bobcat Tram schedules and routes is available on the Texas State Department of Transportation website. They can be contacted at 512-245-5555.

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