Graduate Student Assembly resolution aims to reverse Capital Metro route cuts

Alyssa Mahoney

In reaction to the elimination of the Cameron Road and Wickersham Lane UT shuttle bus routes, the Graduate Students Assembly unanimously passed a resolution aimed at reversing these changes and preventing the closure of routes in the future.

The resolution also requested that Capital Metro allows a longer period of UT community feedback and an on-campus public forum for increased student accessibility.

David Villarreal, communications director of the Graduate Students Assembly, said he is worried about the possibility of further route eliminations in the future.

“To me, it seems that Parking and Transportation Services wants to shift the sizable financial burden of transporting students to campus over to the city of Austin,” Villarreal said.

Villarreal said the problem is UT administrators and CapMetro are not being honest or up front about the process with student riders, who are the most vulnerable and financially precarious.

Columbia Mishra, president of the Graduate Students Assembly, said it was impossible to make sure students were aware of the changes to the UT shuttle bus routes because it was done within the first few weeks of school. Mishra said she hopes to see an open forum in the coming weeks involving students, administrators and representatives of both Parking and Transportation Services and CapMetro.

CapMetro spokeswoman Melissa Ayala said the company does not foresee any additional financial burdens regarding the transition of the UT Parking and Transportation shuttle bus closures to mainline services. 

“[CapMetro] monitors ridership on all routes and adjust services accordingly three times a year,” Ayala said. “At this time, [CapMetro] has not formed an initial service change proposal for the summer 2014 service changes, which will be the next service review period.”

Mishra said the ridership of the cut routes was not significantly less than other routes.

“The difference between what routes were cut and what routes were not cut was a difference of 10 passengers per hour in ridership,” Mishra said.

According to Mishra, students often work on campus late into the night, so it’s dark when they take the bus home. The few extra blocks they must walk as a result of these changes may be unsafe, she said.

“When I signed my year-long apartment lease in July, I did so with the understanding that I would have reliable transportation to UT but two months later everything changed,” Villarreal said. “Why weren’t students informed of this process when these shuttle route eliminations had been in the works since last spring semester?”