EDITORIAL: Students can help fix bus system issues
There are steps that can be taken while U. works on problems
Spanning five campuses and consisting of tens of thousands of students, Rutgers is enormous. The sheer size of the University entails issues, but there is one issue that seems to captivate much of the student body: the bus system. Students complain — and arguably rightly so — about the state of our bus system and all of its problems. Many of these complaints are valid, but with any large transportation system there are bound to be complications. With that said, there are ways that the individuals within the student body can work together to help mitigate the issues that are of such an annoyance to them and their classmates. But still, the problems with the system are complicated and call for complicated solutions — solutions that may not suit everybody.
One main issue is that at multiple points throughout the day, the buses and bus stops are absolutely packed. A huge number of students will be standing at Scott Hall, let us say, waiting for an LX — but only a handful can actually get on. And even then, if you do manage to get on a bus that is set to get you to class on time, you had better leave your personal bubble on the curb because you will likely be uncomfortably squished up against your classmates.
There are likely varying causes of the aforementioned issue, but the first thing that could potentially help mitigate the problem would be for students to only take the bus when it is necessary. It is not unreasonable to think that if every time a student who did not absolutely and reasonably need to take the bus rode a bike or walked instead, that the buses may be less crowded. Additionally, if there was a class scheduling system in place meant to ensure that masses of students do not all take classes at the same time, then those masses of students would not need to be traveling from campus to campus at the same time, and therefore there would be less students on the buses at a given time. Thirdly, the University could work on expanding its virtual class abilities so that students do not have to travel to another campus for class in the first place. Of course, all three of those rough possible solutions entail complications and annoyances on their own, and may bring about even more inefficiencies than are currently experienced.
Another issue is that the buses arrive at the stops inconsistently. It is not uncommon to wait upward of 20 minutes for a bus, which can mean a late arrival to class. This may very well partially stem from the fact that bus drivers take breaks during prime-time class hours. These breaks are not built into their schedules, so the drivers pick and choose when they take them. In the vein of inconsistency is the fact that the bus app is often misleading. It may say a bus is supposed to arrive in less than a minute, but the bus does not end up arriving for 15. Thankfully, Rutgers is switching the provider of its bus app from NextBus to TransLoc in hopes of increasing location accuracy.
Lastly, the amount of cars on the road only increases traffic, so students who live on campus should ideally not drive to class. The less cars on the road, presumably the more efficiently our buses could run.
Generally, though, the bus system's issues are by no means simply fixable and the University needs time to work on them. But if students care enough, there are steps they can take to help their classmates deal with these issues in the meantime. In a way, it can look like an unwritten social contract — students will make certain sacrifices, like not taking the bus when it is not necessary, for the betterment of their fellow classmates, and in return, their classmates will make those same sacrifices.
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