Student petition for more Rutgers buses surpasses 1,600 signatures

<p>In response to numerous complaints, a Rutgers student created a petition to push University President Robert L. Barchi to add more vehicles to the Rutgers bus system.</p>

In response to numerous complaints, a Rutgers student created a petition to push University President Robert L. Barchi to add more vehicles to the Rutgers bus system.

With all of the variety at Rutgers University, there is one unifying experience — standing at a bus stop waiting 20 minutes for an LX.

In response to frustration at long wait times and crowded buses, School of Arts and Sciences sophomore Daniel Thiberge created a petition urging University President Robert L. Barchi to add more buses “to get students to where we need to go.”

“Simply getting more may not be the ultimate solution. While the title of this petition is asking for more buses, what we need is a transportation system that can handle the needs of the students, whether that means more buses or something else,” the petition reads.

The petition, which was created Sept. 13, has already passed 1,600 signatures, Thiberge said. He has sent it to Barchi’s office and the manager the Office of Transportation Services, Jack Molenaar, and had not heard a response.

Thiberge said he created the petition because during his time at Rutgers he had a lot of trouble with the bus system. He said this includes crowded buses, being unable to board buses and waiting for a long amount of time for a bus in the first place.

He said that is not even mentioning aspects of the bus system such as leaky air conditioning units.

Thiberge shared his petition to various Rutgers Facebook group pages where many students have commented or liked the post.

“A lot of students seem to agree with me as shown by them signing the petition, but in terms of comments on my Facebook posts, it seems somewhat split,” Thiberge said. “I've been told that I should just wait for students to start skipping class, implying that would solve these problems, that fixing the problems will increase tuition, that I should manage my time better, etc.”

University spokesperson Karen Smith said Rutgers is working on the issue, takes the concerns very seriously and is in the process of looking at various ways to improve, including the feasibility of adding additional buses.

“In anticipation of such changes, President Robert Barchi has committed to additional financial resources for the system. The University is looking forward to announcing those improvements in the near future,” she said.

Smith said Rutgers runs one of largest university bus systems in the country, logging over 1.6 million miles a year and about 90,000 passenger trips each day.

Thiberge created the petition alone but said he has been in contact with other students regarding it. 

He said it is important for both him and Rutgers University because not only are current conditions unsafe for students, but also that they deserve better since they pay to be here.

“Nobody should be hurting themselves or missing any part of class just to avoid getting to the bus stop an hour early. It has also been a problem for a long time,” he said.

Thiberge said the goal of the petition is for Rutgers to acknowledge the problem and actively seek to solve the problem.

“Whether this requires more buses, larger buses, a different form of transportation, road upgrades, or anything else within the University's abilities. I'm not asking to be able to get on a bus as soon as I get to the stop, but to be able to get where I need to go without unreasonable planning ahead or unsafe travel,” he said.

Chloe Dopico is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in political science and journalism and media studies. She is an associate news editor for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @ChloeDopico for more.

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