Off Campus College Transport expanded its services this semester, adding one bus route and extending service hours to others, but many students living off campus still complain that overcrowded buses keep them from getting to class on time.
With the introduction of the the Triple Cities (TC) route, two additional buses stop at Floral and Main streets each hour on weekday mornings. According to Student Association President and OCCT CEO Mark Soriano, the route was created to mitigate the overcrowding on Downtown buses that resulted from the student housing developments that opened this school year.
“The OCCT staff acknowledges that students wanted more runs in the morning, since at times crowded buses would make people late for class,” Soriano said. “After observing the impact that the new residential facilities Downtown had on bus routes and crowding, it was determined that new runs would help the situation.”
The changes will last through the semester, and the SA may consider further changes for next semester to better meet student needs, according to Soriano.
“It is important to realize that OCCT routes are never completely permanent, they will change semester to semester in order to accommodate changing commute patterns,” he said.
Lina Riveros, a junior majoring in industrial and systems engineering, is one of several students who said the TC route has improved their morning commute.
“I’ve had to wait less time at the Union,” Riveros said. “I didn’t really notice the changes at first, but my commute has been smoother.”
Chris Starace, a junior majoring in industrial engineering, said he missed the bus on Tuesday due to overcrowding, but overall his commute has been better.
“I generally don’t have to worry as much about getting to class in the morning because I know there are more options,” Starace said. “Having said that though it was kind of annoying to miss the bus on Tuesday.”
But many students contend that the SA is neglecting other Downtown areas that require increased service, such as the Downtown Center Riverside (DCR) route.
“I’m not a huge fan of the schedule changes,” said David Pfuhler, a junior majoring in environmental studies who takes the DCR. “There hasn’t been much of an impact on my commute but I have to wake up a bit earlier [in case the bus would fill up]. I would like to see the buses run more frequently.”
Samantha Ahern, a junior double-majoring in graphic design and French, echoed Pfuhler’s sentiments.
“The bus times are inconvenient for my class schedule,” she said. “They’re always full, which isn’t fair because I’ve missed class because of full buses more than once. Also, if you miss one bus, you’re late for class because it’s only every half hour.”
And Heather Fennell, a junior double-majoring in psychology and human development, lamented that OCCT only stops on Leroy, a long street with a large student population, after 6 p.m. on weekdays.
“I don’t think the new bus routes have affected me,” Fennell said. “It’s just the Leroy bus only runs after 6 p.m., which is an inconvenience for those of us that live on Leroy and are trying to go to class during the day.”