By Haley Lawson
Published: Wedsday, January 25, 2012
Students may have noticed multiple changes to several bus routes due to construction on and off campus. Temporary fences around Fish Pond to the Wellborn Road project, in particular, have rerouted a number of bus routes.
Competing for elbowroom, the construction projects and the Aggie Spirit buses have led Transportation Services to seek alternative routes for the buses.
"Any time we have to move bus stops and re-route, it is somewhat an inconvenience but we know it is for the good of the campus and community. With the Wellborn Road project coming, we anticipate there will be major inconveniences for the next two years," said June Broughton, marketing manager for Transportation Services.
Some of the major bus routes that have been changed are routes 3 (Yell Practice), 12 (Reveille) and 15 (Old Army). Routes 3 and 12, as well as any other bus that ventures past Fish Pond will be rerouted.
"It is making me so angry I avoid the bus because it used to take me 10 minutes to get from Reed to campus and now it takes me 20 to 30 minutes — I'd rather run," said Austin Souders, junior industrial distribution major.
Despite the construction on and off campus, Transportation Services has taken steps to assist students. The University auxiliary has added options for students to know where buses are and what the changes are.
"We have implemented a new system that has GPS tracking, cameras on the buses and automatic passenger counters," Broughton said. "This system will give us much more accurate information and will enable us to make changes as needed on routes in order to enhance our service. We have also added annunciators on the buses, which notify passengers of upcoming stops. Last year, we added Braille signage to our bus stops."
Lana Wolken, assistant director for Transportation Services, said construction in Bryan caused route 15 to be split in two: the north section and south section. The south section circulates at 20-minute intervals. The previous interval was 10 minutes.
Dividing route 15 into two sections has created delays that require further modification, according to Broughton.
"The north section is now very long with high ridership and requires three buses. The south section is closer to campus but has only one bus, so that service now requires 20 minutes instead of 10. We are continuing to evaluate and modify this route," Broughton said.
The changes cause some students to be late to class and wait in a long line for fewer buses. The changes don't just affect students who ride the bus; they affect students who bike or walk to campus, as well.
"As a bike commuter, the new bus stops have made my morning commute more dangerous. The bike lane on Coke Street is now always blocked off by buses, causing me to share the lane meant for normal cars. It makes it more dangerous for me, and slows down the cars driving through campus," said Brandon Adame, senior computer science major.
Transportation Services and students alike said they hope these changes will be short lived.
"We anticipate that most adjustments will end after spring break. Others will continue until the end of the semester. The Wellborn Road project will continue for two years," Broughton said.