Older buses cause dissatisfaction among students relying on UT shuttles

Christina Breitbeil

As the buses of the UT Shuttle and E-bus system become older, many students have noticed increasing unreliability within the system.

The fleet of buses used by Capital Metro are scheduled to be replaced in 2015-2016, according to Melissa Ayala, vice president of marketing and communications for Cap Metro. Cap Metro is the transportation company that teams up with UT to provide free transportation around campus and to downtown sites for students. As the replacement date nears, many students have come forward with complaints regarding complications within the bussing system.

Plan II honors junior Grace Paulter said she recently became dissatisfied with the shuttle system and has since refrained from using it. 

“I took the bus every day over the summer, and a few days it just didn’t show up,” Paulter said. “I had to wait until the next scheduled time, so I ended up being late to class.”

The cost of maintaining the older buses with repairs is significantly less than the cost of replacing the fleet. Bus maintenance is approximately $1.25 per mile, including parts and labor, according to Ayala. 

“Vehicle replacements are based on combined mileage and age,” Ayala said. “Capital Metro has limited dollars for fleet replacement, so vehicles with the longest life span and highest mileage are replaced first. UT Shuttle buses have relatively low mileage for their age.”

Religious studies junior James Bussman, who commutes to campus every day from The Triangle, said the bus system has always been fairly reliable for him, but he does notice a difference in reliability depending on certain circumstances.

“In general, I like the bus system because the drivers are always really courteous,” Bussman said. “The only time I notice that it’s late is when I really want to be somewhere and it’s not coming right when I want it to. It has been really late every once in a while, but only on days with unusual weather.”

Weather is one of the factors that could lead to delays in the buses’ routes on a regular basis, Ayala said.

“As with any vehicle, weather conditions may impact driving conditions,” Ayala said. “Wet roads may require slower operating speeds to safely operate the route. During periods of extremely hot temperatures, conditions may tax the vehicle and we may experience strained air conditioning systems and engine overheating.”