This isn’t just a transportation problem, it’s an education issue

Danielle Redhead

Many students, including myself, have to live in Riverside to afford rent. Unfortunately, the student population in Riverside has been historically overlooked by those on main campus. Students who live in Riverside receive a college experience that is unequal to that of their peers living on or near campus. Inferior access to reliable transportation is only one of the many injustices students residing in Riverside must face. Transportation is a basic necessity that all of our students should have access to, regardless of where they choose to live. 

Through my past two years in Riverside, the 670 UT Shuttle has had constant delays. However, since the implementation of the CapRemap Initiative this past June, the delays have become unbearable. Through this initiative, CapMetro combined and eliminated several routes. Although the route of the 670 did not change, there has been a significant decrease in the amount of buses along the route. 

There are some occasions when the bus arrives on time and sometimes there are even two buses that come at once. However, on more than one occasion, I have had to wait 30-45 minutes for one bus to arrive to my apartment. On Tuesdays, I don’t have class until 9:30 a.m. but I leave my apartment around 8 a.m. to ensure that I get a spot on the bus. Not only is it difficult to get to campus on time, it’s even more grueling to leave campus at a reasonable time. Last week alone, I had to wait for an hour on two separate occasions when I wanted to leave campus. 

Due to the bus delays, there have been many instances when 40-50 people are trying to board the bus at once. It’s incredibly overwhelming and panic-inducing when people are pushing and shoving you while trying to get on the bus. There have been times when a 670 will be waiting by the stadium and there is no bus driver. Last week, around 8:30 p.m., not during a typical rush hour time, I had to wait 90 minutes for a bus to arrive. Thankfully, after my dreadful wait in the rain and cold weather, two buses did show up. However, one bus driver would not open the door for our students to get on, forcing everyone who could fit to pile onto the first bus. 

CapMetro should be using our UT ID swipes when we board the bus to figure out when peak times occur and then send more buses during those times. CapMetro and UT administration should acknowledge complaints by students instead of blatantly ignoring us. As a student, I am frustrated with UT administration and CapMetro  for their unwillingness to fix the unreliable transportation in Riverside.

I am grateful for my position and platform in Student Government to amplify the voices of other Riverside students. I am actively working with Student Government and other Riverside residents to ensure this issue is resolved. Even if this issue doesn’t directly impact you, I encourage you to use your voice to help your fellow peers. Just because I can’t afford to live near campus doesn’t mean I should have unequal access to education that we’re all paying for.

Redhead is a Social Work senior.