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A Change Is Needed: Off-Campus Commuter Students Suffering As A Result Of NV Bus

The worst time of my day during the week is fighting to get on one of the crushed CATA buses that sporadically stops near my apartment. As I walk down the stairs to the bus stop, a sea of people wait anxiously by the curb, glaring at one another, preparing to leap in front of the crowd just to get on the bus.

I will admit, I am not above pushing in front of people to get onto the bus. Sometimes, a bus won’t be scheduled for another 45 minutes after my class has already begun. Consequently, I often choose to go to campus up to an hour early so I don’t miss my class. And forget going home between classes, you won’t make it back in time for your next class.

I feel guilty each time I push past another student and feel frustrated with the CATA bus system. I’m disheartened that the bus system hasn’t yet been refined into something that would be ideal for off-campus students.

Historically, CATA has cited staffing shortages for a lack of improvement, which have significantly impacted off-campus students. Staffing shortages seem to be improving, but the frequency of buses and bus routes has not.

One of the biggest sore spots I have with CATA is the NV bus, which runs after 10 p.m. on weekdays and Sundays, completely replacing every other bus route for off-campus students. The problem with the NV bus is that only two buses are running at any given time, and the gap between the two buses is roughly 45 minutes. Meaning if you miss the NV bus, you will have to wait another 45 minutes until the next bus comes. On less busy days, the buses are spaced 30 minutes apart.

Last Sunday, I didn’t have access to my car, so I had to take the NV bus. My apartment is located close to the beginning of the bus route on Blue Course Drive. So, unfortunately, since the NV bus only drives in one big loop in the same direction, I had to endure the hour-long bus ride from Blue Course Drive to Park Forest Village, Toftrees, and finally to campus. Since the bus took an hour, of course, I was late for my meeting.

I’m not the only one who must take the NV bus on Sundays as many other off-campus students have conveyed their annoyance and stress over the NV bus. I’m lucky enough to have a car, so I have more of a choice concerning the NV bus, but many other students who live off-campus don’t have a car as an option.

The popularity of off-campus student living has skyrocketed over the past decade as rent prices increase downtown.

Living off-campus comes with a double-edged sword, however. In exchange for more affordable rent, you are forced to endure the CATA bus system — a system that’s unreliable and stressful for students commuting to campus.

As a consequence, many off-campus students who have cars choose to drive to school, packing the Bryce Jordan Center and stadium lots to the brim. Students often opt to take either the Blue Loop or Red Link from the commuter lots to campus, perpetuating the problem of the CATA bus system simply not having enough drivers and buses. Parking at the Bryce Jordan Center and stadium is another topic entirely.

The entire CATA bus system must be refined, but the NV bus particularly. This system isn’t feasible for the amount of students who live off-campus wishing to simply get to campus. Two buses aren’t enough to host the thousands of students who live off-campus.

CATA must reconsider how to deal with these issues internally. In the meantime, off-campus students will have to deal with the consequences.

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About the Author

Gracie Mullan

Gracie is a senior from Delaware County, Pa, studying telecommunications with a minor in English. In her free time, Gracie likes to read, write, and drink coffee. Get in touch with Gracie on her Instagram @gracie.mullan and for more formal inquiries [email protected].

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