Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bobcat Shuttle struggles to accommodate increasing student population

By Francesca Neely-Dickey

SAN MARCOS – Many students feel the Bobcat Shuttle is not meeting their needs, and the growing number students enrolling next year will exasperate transportation services on campus. 

The university’s increasing enrollment worries students who regularly use the Bobcat Shuttle. Senior Alexandra Woodward is one of several students concerned with the growing population on campus.

“The town of San Marcos just feels like its shrinking. Traffic is getting worse, places are getting more packed and even campus feels crowded," Woodward said. “It's mostly affecting me at my bus stop. I can never get on the first bus and if I do I am standing and squished between two other people.”

Enrollment at Texas State University has grown by 3.5 percent from last year, totaling 36,700 students, making it the fourth largest university in the state, according to a university press release from President Denise Trauth.

The growing population has also impacted students who commute to campus. Many commuters now use the Bobcat Shuttle because parking passes do not guarantee a parking space.  Senior Trent Richter is one of many students who now uses the Bobcat Shuttle.

"I didn't even get a parking pass this year, just because you still can't find a place to park most of the time,” Ritcher said.

Many other students like Chase Key express frustration with both bus availability and parking availability.

“The Texas State buses are incredibly packed and there’s never room on there,” Key said. “There’s no parking spaces in the commuter lots.”

Many buses overwhelm their capacity during peak hours. Students must adjust to late arrival times and over-packed buses in order to get to class during peak hours. Danielle Sanders, like many students, argues that this has impacted her performance in school.

"Sometimes the bus is full and this has made me late to my classes,” Sanders said.

Bus drivers also struggle to keep up with the new student population. Charles Geay, a Bobcat Shuttle driver, is concerned about how new shuttle drivers handle the responsibility.

 “The first year is incredibly stressful for bus drivers,” Geay said. “There’s always students running in front of buses.”

Students may contact the Bobcat Shuttle to learn more about how the buses are adjusting to the new student population on campus. 

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