‘(It’s) like The Hunger Games’: Students fight for space on bus to Riverside

Tehya Rassman

Students living in Riverside are cramming onto bus 670 every morning to get to class on time.

In April, before CapRemap in June, the average amount of people riding the bus at 8:30 a.m. was 22.6, according to information from Capital Metro. In September, after reducing the number of buses on the route by three and raising the wait time between buses from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., the average rose to 35.5 people, despite having no changes to the route.

Management senior Grace Edwards lives in Riverside and said the buses came around more frequently and consistently last semester compared to this semester. Oftentimes, she said, the buses would show up late or already full.

“I moved to Riverside last year and honestly had a great experience with the bus system,” Edwards said in an email. “Then, when this school year started and the buses began showing up late I got very confused and frustrated.”

Public relations junior Ashley Stone said she sent a complaint to CapMetro regarding bus 670. But CapMetro communication specialist Mariette Hummel said in an email that there have been “no complaints about the route.”

However, each morning a crowd of about 40 to 50 people await the bus at the stop, nutrition sophomore Jonathan Guzman said.

“There’s this big group of people who are all fighting for a spot in the bus, like ‘The Hunger Games’ almost,” Guzman said.

Some students said they were late to class because the buses were late or could not take everybody waiting at the stop. Students like Guzman and Edwards have had to run to class in order to make it on time.

“I had to sit in the back,” Guzman said. “I couldn’t pay attention as much because the professor doesn’t like when you come in late, so a lot of people who avoid that, they just sit in the back.”

Edwards’ professors advised her to go to the bus stop earlier, but she has already been arriving at the bus stop 40 minutes before class.

“I shouldn’t be expected to have a 40-minute commute because I live off-campus 15 minutes away,” Edwards said.

Edwards said she would like UT to work with CapMetro to make sure bus frequency meets student demand.

“What makes it even worse are the days where there’s 30 minutes without a single bus coming,” Edwards said. “Two will show up at the same time which is unhelpful and definitely not on schedule.”

The last straw, Edwards said, was when she arrived late to one of her chemistry exams.

“Not only was I two minutes late, but I was stressed and not in the right mind to take an exam,” Edwards said. “I have talked to numerous people that live in Riverside and they’ve all said the same thing: It’s unreliable, slow and inconsistent.”