Students suggested changes for the University’s bus system in February’s bus evaluation, but those recommendations will not be implemented until fall 2014, according to Gary Graham, director of the Office of Parking, Traffic and Transportation.
Graham said updating the bus system is a long process. The last time the University conducted a bus evaluation was in the spring of 2008, and changes were not made until a new contract with First Transit was signed in August 2009. However, Graham said the process, which takes about a year-and-a-half, is on track with a final report on the evaluation expected at the end of the month.
“It takes a long time to get it operational, to decide what students want and then go through the process of getting the contractor in,” Graham said.
Graham said he is happy with the response to the survey because those who took the time to take it reflect the people with the most need for expanded bus service.
“It is a good assessment of what students want,” Graham said. “With buses carrying about 10,000 people a day, 2,400 is a good percentage of the ridership.”
The final bus evaluation report, based on the student survey, student forums, bus route ride-alongs and meeting between Solstice Transportation Group, the Office of Parking, Traffic and Transportation and other campus groups, will be presented to the students in the fall to finalize what students want and the cost, Graham said.
Graham said immediate changes to the bus system, like the added Ben Hur Road night route, could only be made within the current contract.
August marks the fifth year of the University’s contract with First Transit, so bidding for a bus contract will begin in the fall and the University will have a new contract by August 2014.
“We will write the specifications to make sure we get the quality service from whoever the successful contractor is,” Graham said.
Following the bus evaluation survey sent to students in March, the Office of Parking, Traffic and Transportation is awaiting a preliminary draft of recommendations for the bus system from Solstice Transportation Group and will then have a final report regarding the status of the University’s bus system.
Graham said the Office of Parking, Traffic and Transportation will work with the new Student Government administration when the evaluation comes back to determine what changes will be made.
SG will discuss and vote on changes to the student fee for buses, Graham said.