Decreased routes in BUS service hurt students off-campus

By Brittney Matthews | Photo Editor

The Baylor University Shuttle (BUS) offers a free bus service to students who have trouble getting to campus, but the decrease in routes due to COVID-19 has hurt the students who have come to rely on the system.

The Waco Transit System has taken precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by shortening hours to 7:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. and limiting capacity to 10 people per vehicle. They have also posted informational posters about COVID-19 in each bus and dedicated more staff to cleaning the vehicles. However, some of the big changes were changing the routes to pick up students at apartments located along University Parks Drive and no longer stopping at U Pointe on Speight and The View.

When I was looking into which apartment complex to move into my sophomore and junior year, I chose based on its proximity to campus and whether or not the BUS stopped there. I chose to live at U Pointe on Speight because it was relatively close to campus and if I was in a time crunch, I could always take the BUS system to campus.

Now that the BUS system no longer stops at U Pointe on Speight, I was inclined to buy a parking permit because of how often I go to and from campus for work and classes. I was trying my best not to buy a parking permit so I could save money and not add to my expenses, but I kept running into problems. I know walking is always an option, but sometimes I just need to get to and from campus quickly and the weather isn’t always great. My sophomore year, I relied on the BUS system to get to campus so the change in routes this year has really affected me.

I appreciate the precautions taken by the Waco Transit System in response to COVID-19, and I think they’re doing a great job; I’m just not sure why they had to take away some of the bus routes. I understand that U Pointe on Speight and The View are hotspots for students going to class, but I’m sure there was a way to keep the routes and also practice social distancing. There are students who rely on the BUS system because they can’t afford a parking permit or a bike.

I think there should be a petition to add the routes going by U Pointe on Speight and The View back to the BUS system. Then the Waco Transit System could discuss a way to bring them back while still practicing social distancing. One way this could be done is by having separate bus routes for The View and U Pointe on Speight so there are less students on each vehicle. There should have been more of a discussion on how route changes would affect students before action was taken.