Director addresses early bus issues

<p>The EE, F, RexB and RexL buses will stop at the NJ Transit stop on George Street instead of Cabaret Theater.</p>

The EE, F, RexB and RexL buses will stop at the NJ Transit stop on George Street instead of Cabaret Theater.

As the primary mode of transportation for many students, University buses have been subject to a lot of criticism, as well as praise, from the student body.

Jack Molenaar, director of the Department of Transportation Services, said much of the criticism, which revolves around overcrowding and delays, is unwarranted.

“At the beginning of every semester the buses are always a little more crowded, just like the dining halls and everything else,” he said.

Molenaar said students are still busy finding their way around and getting accustomed to their schedules, which makes transportation chaotic early on in the semester.

“We actually have more buses on at the beginning of every semester than we do at other times,” he said.

To better serve the student population, Molenaar said Transportation Services also increased the amount of hours that buses stay on their routes. The running hours of the LX, B, and REX-L routes were extended to accommodate new influxes on the Livingston campus because of the newly finished apartments, he said.

Kyle Herda, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said he was dissatisfied with the buses and has been late to classes because of them.

“I feel like it’s not managed very well,” he said. “Far more often than not, I’ll see three or four of the same buses pull up in a row.”

Herda said while waiting for those buses, he has had to wait up to 30 minutes for the route he needed.

“I was 20 minutes late last week to one class along with a couple other students, and that just shouldn’t happen,” he said.

Herda said even though he understands how traffic plays a role in the timeliness of public transportation, there is no excuse for the way buses often bunch up at specific locations.

“At Rockoff Hall with the EE, I’ve seen buses sit there 15 to 20 minutes and then make two more stops and wait 15 to 20 minutes at Passion Puddle,” he said.

Molenaar said aside from getting students to class on time, one of the goals of the transportation system is to reduce the number of cars on the road and provide incentives for students to park and ride the bus.

“That’s why we issue tickets,” he said.

Molenaar said ticketing serves to encourage students to buy permits, park in assigned lots and campuses as well as support the University’s bussing system.

The parking system, which was fine tuned in 2005, was successful in reducing traffic on College Avenue by 30 percent, Molenaar said.

“We have the analysis to back up the fact that not only does it reduce traffic but it also reduces demand of parking,” he said.

Raymond Lewis, a Rutgers Business School junior, said he thinks the buses have dramatically improved since last year.

“They’re much more efficient, much less crowded, and it’s a lot less hectic,” Lewis said.

He said the only time he finds himself struggling to get to class on time is during rush hour when traffic is at its heaviest.

Lewis said he used to avoid the buses altogether for recreational activities last year, but now he’s much more willing to use them on his own time to get to other campuses.

“Now I’ll use them to go play intramurals and stuff, or meet people on other campuses if I want to go to a different dining hall than Brower or something,” he said.

Molenaar said students were able to park in multiple campuses in the past, but the system led to problems concerning the amount of spaces that would constantly be occupied.

Now, a student can only take up one spot on a specific campus, a change that has reduced the demand to build additional lots and parking decks on campus, he said.

“Our enrollment [at the University] has gone up, we’ve added more buses and we haven’t had to build more parking,” he said.

Molenaar said reducing the demand of parking directly affects students because if more decks had to be built, the cost would be passed down to the students.

He said the cheapest option, for both the department and students, would be to adopt biking as the primary option for transportation.

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