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Feedback mixed for UNT’s new bus routes

Feedback mixed for UNT’s new bus routes

A UNT bus waits for students to board in front of the Union. There have been changes in the bus routes around campus. Paige Bruneman

Feedback mixed for UNT’s new bus routes
October 18
15:20 2017

Since installing new bus routes in early August, students gave both positive and negative feedback about the changes, according to UNT Transportation Services. The goal isn’t to stop complaints, but instead help those in need quickly and efficiently.

UNT Transportation announced new bus routes on Twitter on Aug. 9. The North Texas Daily’s Editorial reported these changes on Aug. 10 along with why the route changes were for the “greater good.”

“The bus system had not previously been modified since the bus service started in the early 2000s,” Interim Senior Director of Transportation Services Christopher Phelps said.

Some of the changes include Fouts Field and Union Circle now serving as drop-off and pick-up points for the UNT Shuttle buses and Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA) buses, as well as route adjustments.

Transportation Services’ Twitter account helps them get out information about transportation and parking. Among a few complaints, the account mostly gets questions about parking lots and buses. Occasionally they get complaints from students but they resolve problems quickly.

“The staff is trying not to think in terms of number of complaints and more in terms of getting valuable information out in a timely fashion and helping those who have problems,” Phelps said. “Students walk away satisfied so it’s hard to quantify complaints with a number.”

The North Texas Daily ran a Twitter poll on Wednesday, Oct. 11 about the new bus routes. With a total of 80 votes, 19 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with the new bus routes, 48 percent were unsatisfied and 38 percent were indifferent.

The new routes are also more reflective of UNT’s Master Plan developed by university leadership and the UNT community to make the inner part of campus (Avenue C and Highland Street) more pedestrian friendly.

“It is nice that somebody’s looking out for the safety of the people that are moving about campus,” broadcast journalism junior Julian Perry said regarding route changes. “Everybody knows nobody is watching where they’re going, including myself.”

Rehabilitation studies sophomore Clarissa Duncan said keeping the students safe is a good intention but not so readily practiced by students.

“The students kinda don’t make it safe themselves by jumping out in front of the bus and running across the street,” Duncan said.

Duncan also said some buses are not on track at all.

There are two buses for each route operating at the same time. If one bus is arriving at Fouts Field, the other should be arriving at Union Circle. Accordingly, they should not be at the same place at the same time.

“Tuesday, [Oct.] 10th I was waiting at Fouts and there were two Eagle Point buses next to each other and two Mean Green buses,” Duncan said.

Buses also get heavily crowded, although that is because some hours are busier than others. The Mean Green buses are one of the most used by students according to feedback given to Transportation Servies.

In response to this feedback, Transporation Services added a third Mean Green bus. Phelps said DCTA also provides two “protection” buses each morning used wherever there is an immediate need. The Discovery Park route also has an extra bus during busy hours.

“It’s a fight for everyone to try to get on the bus,” Public relations sophomore Alexia Johnson said.

With the route changes, the $3.50 per hour fee in mandatory student fees has remained the same. Because of this, Perry and Johnson said they can’t complain too much.

Students we talked to said the easiest way to keep up with the new routes is through UNT’s Bus Tracker site or the UNT Transit app which went live on Aug. 28. A beta version was available in the summer only on the Transportation Services website where the tech team worked out its bugs.

“Even if they’re late, you know exactly how late they’re going to be,” Perry said about the app’s usefulness.

Transportation Services and DCTA are hopeful that the new routes will become more manageable for students.

“The bus tracker has saved my life,” Johnson said. The UNT Transit app is now the most used app on her phone during school hours.

Before making any more changes in the future, Transportation Services and DCTA wants to gather data on ridership and student needs in the bus system.

Phelps said weekly meetings between Transportation Services and DCTA’s operations staff and monthly meetings between senior university administration and senior executive management from DCTA are providing beneficial results for UNT’s transit service.

“We are fortunate that our partnership with DCTA affords us some flexibility so that we can implement changes when needs are identified and when the demand calls for it,” Phelps said.

Featured Image: A UNT bus waits for students to board in front of the Union. There have been changes in the bus routes around campus. Paige Bruneman

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Zaira Perez

Zaira Perez

Senior News Writer

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1 Comment

  1. Berry J.
    Berry J. October 20, 10:52

    Students complain about the bus being late, but they fail to realize that the bus drivers sometimes have to get off the bus to assist students with disabilities or assist students in a wheelchair. Things like this take time which causes the bus to be late. I don’t understand why some students are so impatient. Stop complaining about being late to class. It’s not the busses fault. It’s your fault for not leaving earlier. When I was in school, I used to leave at least an hour early to get to campus. This allowed enough time to walk to my class, freshen up in the bathroom, and get a drink of water or something. Students act so entitled.

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