Shuttle Bus Column Illustration

With the fast-paced environment present on a college campus, students are constantly rushing to make it to class, organization meetings and community events. However, with the Texas State Bobcat Shuttle service, students arrive at their destination conveniently, environmentally friendly and safely.

Texas State created the Bobcat Shuttle service to assist students, faculty, staff and the general public with transportation needs. The shuttles are funded by Texas State students, who must pay a $95 bus fee at the beginning of each semester. The service runs from Monday through Saturday during the school year and consists of multiple routes throughout San Marcos's most populated areas.

The Bobcat Shuttle system is a convenient option for students to travel to campus and other locations in San Marcos. Finding on-campus parking can be extremely difficult, especially with the record-breaking freshman class of more than 7,590 students enrolled for the fall 2022 semester. Parking in a no-parking zone on campus can result in fines between $40 and $300. With the Bobcat Shuttle service, students do not have to worry about finding parking or potentially getting towed or booted in a no-parking zone.

Not only does using the shuttle service eliminate the challenges of finding parking, but it also helps to alleviate road congestion. According to a Transportation of America study, public transportation allows drivers to reach their destinations more quickly and increase overall productivity levels. In addition, with fewer drivers on the road, students will not have to weave their way through traffic and can help alleviate traffic by using the public transportation service provided.

The Bobcat Shuttle service helps students to travel in an environmentally conscious manner. Public transportation, like the Bobcat Shuttle, is one of the most effective ways to reduce air pollution, according to Kansas City Area Transportation Authority. Approximately 85% of greenhouse gas emissions are due to day-to-day commutes. With carbon dioxide being the primary greenhouse gas contributing to climate change, students need to be highly conscious of transportation's impact on the environment.

The use of public transportation services can help improve overall fuel efficiency. Studies show less fuel is used with public transportation options compared to private cars. With more students using the Bobcat Shuttles to travel, public transit can reduce the fuel used tremendously. In addition, with transit buses holding more passengers than personal vehicles, they have the potential to reach a higher passenger mile per gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Not only do the Bobcat Shuttle services provide an environmentally friendly option for students to travel, but it also helps to get students safely around campus. For example, rather than walking across campus after a late-night class, students can access the Bobcat Shuttle service until 10:30 p.m. As a result, the Bobcat Shuttle can help make students feel safer when needing to travel across campus.

Despite the advantages of public transportation, students like Alice Ledger, a psychology sophomore, are hesitant to continue to use the Bobcat Shuttle service. Ledger revealed that the underpopulation of shuttles had been a primary reason she was reluctant to use the shuttles.

"The traffic is always horrible," Ledger said. "The university needs to add more shuttles if they want students to use them."

While acknowledging the shuttles' benefits, Ledger claimed it had not been an enjoyable experience.

Although the transportation service poses many benefits for Texas State students, the current Bobcat Shuttle system could improve if the university addressed students' complaints regarding the shuttle system. Fixing the issues, such as overcrowding, risky bus driving maneuvers that can cause motion sickness and limited available shuttles, could help promote the service and gain more support.

Ensuring students are aware of the many advantages of Texas State's Bobcat Shuttle is extremely important. The Bobcat Shuttle system is an excellent option for students to travel accommodatingly, eco-friendly and securely.

- Kadence Cobb is a journalism sophomore

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