UT shuttles expected to see detours through at least April 12


Cassandra Jaramillo

Construction along 21st Street and Speedway has affected three UT shuttle routes, causing detours which officials say are expected to continue through at least April 12. 

Architecture sophomore Diane Hermes said she would leave her Riverside apartment every morning at 8:52 a.m. to get to campus before her first class starts. Every day she takes the North Riverside UT shuttle to get to campus and then the 40 Acres shuttle to get to her 9:30 a.m. class.

Hermes said she now has to budget extra time during her morning routine after she received a tardy in her studio design class.

“I was late to my class because my bus took longer when it had to go all the way out of the way,” Hermes said. “And maybe showing up late isn’t so bad, but there’s classes where you have a limited amount of [tardies] or absences where they start docking off points off your grade.”

Blanca Gamez, assistant director with UT’s Parking and Transportation services, said the three UT shuttle routes affected are the 40 Acres, West Campus and Lake Austin routes. Gamez said Capital Metro will strive to maintain the current level of service while the shuttles are on detour for the next weeks. 

“As the University continues to expand, construction will continue to cause some disruptions to certain routes on campus,” Gamez said. “During these times some delays may be experienced. Capital Metro and their service provider continue to strive to maintain the shuttles current level of service while on detour.”

Hermes said she missed an email by Parking and Transportation that detailed specific disruptions. The email sent out to all UT students and faculty regarded general Speedway parking disruptions, and specific route detours was placed lower in the email.

Capital Metro spokesperson Amy Peck said delays in people’s commute times would vary with the rush hours in the morning and evening.  

“Austin sees the greatest amount of traffic congestion in the city’s core during weekday peak travel times in the morning and late afternoon, roughly 6 [to] 9 a.m. and 4 [to] 7 p.m.,” Peck said in an email. “These also happen to be the peak days and times for traveling to and from campus.”

Hermes said she would not mind the detours if the communication regarding them could improve. Although officials said checking the website is one of the best ways to get updated information, Hermes said she felt it isn’t the best.

“That’s not what we check; that’s not the way to communicate with us,” Hermes said. “I think communicating with us on our social feeds­ — that we check every day — is the best way.” 

According to Capital Metro data, the average ride on the West Campus shuttle takes 28.56 minutes, but the route is affected by many detours, Peck said. 

Gamez said if students download the Capital Metro app, then they can manage their commutes efficiently.

“Since all buses have been equipped with GPS, students can now track bus arrival times in real time,” Gamez said. 

Gamez said Parking and Transportation will continue to inform students through email, Twitter and the Capital Metro app.