Students have trouble getting to campus due to BUS cancellation

The bus shuttle to the University Park apartment area has been cancelled, forcing students to park off campus or to take the Ferrell Center shuttle to get to classes. Audrey La | Photographer Photo credit: Audrey La

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

Students are adjusting their routes to campus due to the cancellation of the Baylor University Shuttle Service (BUS) to Ursa, the Domain, the Outpost and the Oso Verde apartment complexes.

In March, the apartment complexes announced that the BUS would no longer stop at their locations.

Katy senior Clarke Andrews said many students at Ursa, including himself, had already renewed their leases, so it was too late to break contracts and move elsewhere.

Lanham, Md., junior Marie Moukoury said last year, she would use the BUS every day to get to class because she doesn’t have a car. She said she felt blindsided when she heard the news.

“We were under the impression one of the things about Ursa was that they had consistent transportation,” Moukoury said. “That was one of their bigger selling points … When we got the news, we couldn’t move to somewhere that was closer to campus or move to on-campus housing. We didn’t know what to do because it was too late to make any drastic changes.”

Moukoury said she walks to school now, which takes her around 25 minutes.

“It’s super hot, and it’s kind of uncomfortable coming to class a little sweaty,” Moukoury said. “It’s just not a comfortable feeling. Sometimes, because the walk is really long, I come into class five minutes late.”

Moukoury said she tried walking to University Parks to catch the BUS there, but now, only residents are allowed to wait in the lobby in the air conditioning.

Clarke said he normally parks in the garage on Speight Avenue, but it’s full and has a waiting list. He said he ends up having to park at the Ferrell Center and wait for the BUS to get to his classes.

“When parking at the Ferrell Center, the parking is always super full,” Clarke said. “You’ll get out there, and there’s probably like 30 or 40 kids sometimes, like at peak times, waiting to get on the BUS. And I know my first day, they only had the small BUS, and some kids weren’t able to get on; they had to wait for it to come all the way back around again.”

San Antonio senior Manny Ozowalu said he has had a hard time getting to class on time some days because of the amount of students parking at the Ferrell Center.

“I just don’t understand what their motives are,” Ozowalu said. “I don’t understand what problem they could have had that could have caused them to inconvenience us over it. I want to believe it was for good reason. If so, help us out by cutting some sort of slack when it comes to us being able to get to campus right now. It’s just way too inconvenient … Make our lives a little easier somehow.”

A parking pass for off-campus students can cost between $125 and $365. Parking at the Ferrell Center is free, and the shuttles on the Green and Gold route pick up students from the parking lot.

Maple Grove, Minn., senior J.P. Lyon said the shuttle being canceled led people who wouldn’t normally purchase a parking pass to get one.

“I think there’s a lot of people who are wondering why it’s canceled,” Lyon said. “It’s not something that they have to provide. It’s not like a right that we students have, but it’s weird that it kind of came out of nowhere.”

Matt Penney, the director of Parking & Transportation Services, said in an email to concerned parents that the apartment complexes had been aware of the transition since March 2019.

“Over the last two and a half years, Baylor has tried to be accommodating,” Penney said in the email. “The apartments requested service extensions in both 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. Baylor agreed to these requests. The additional years were to provide the apartment complexes ample opportunity to secure resources and budget for new shuttle service options.”

Penney said Baylor has offered to help the apartment complexes with planning, campus access and limited operational support for their own private shuttles to campus.

“It is time for them to fully fund one of the amenities which makes their private property so attractive to student residents,” Penney said.

The Ursa management team said in an email to its residents in March that it plans to provide a shuttle service for its tenants.

“Although we were not part of the decision-making process, we understand how important the shuttle service is to you, our valued residents,” the email from Ursa said. “We want to reassure you we are pursuing every option available to continue to provide you with the same level of service you expect. We will keep you posted as we work towards a solution.”