By Karaline Harrell
Imagine having classes five days a week but never having guaranteed or reliable transportation.
Unfortunately, this is reality for many at Tyler Junior College. This leaves students with the option of either walking or using the Tyler Transit System.
Students are dropped off and picked up at the bus stop on Fifth Street in front of the White Administration Building several times daily.
Surprisingly, students often feel ashamed or embarrassed that they do not have a car of their own. Many students waiting for the bus even declined interviews because they did not want their peers to know their mode of transportation. Although they were more than willing to voice their dismay with the bus system, they did not want to speak out for fear of being judged.
However, bus rider Adriana Mendiove was not afraid to speak her mind on the matter. She takes the bus almost every day, and finds the system to be cumbersome. Her biggest issue is that buses do not always stay true to schedule.
Since the buses typically visit each stop approximately every hour and 15 minutes, if the bus comes earlier or later than its appointed time, a student’s day can be impacted.
“It’s kind of hard. You have to wake up early. Sometimes they run late. This week I was late twice for my class,” said Mendiove.
Her professors often do not take too kindly to her tardiness, but she does not have a viable solution to the problem.
“They’re mad. They get pretty upset, but it is what it is,” Mendiove said.
Director of Tyler Transit Russ Jackson acknowledges that the bus schedule cannot always stay accurate to the minute. Traffic and weather delays can cause a bus to run late. However, Jackson suggests downloading a new application called “RouteShout”. This app allows you to track buses in your area and report a problem if anything is later than scheduled.
Although the bus system can cause major inconveniences to students, the Campus Police try to be as helpful as they can when it comes to getting students to and from campus.
Chief of Police Randy Melton understands students often do not have the financial means to purchase or maintain their own vehicle and offers students a free bus pass in lieu of a parking permit.
“You come down to our office and there’s some paperwork you fill out, and we’ll give you a sticker to put on your college ID, and it’s good for a bus pass for any route the City of Tyler Transit goes,” said Melton.
Campus Safety has already given out 150 bus passes this semester. Chief Melton said he expects this number to increase as the semester goes on. Just like the parking stickers, the bus pass sticker must be updated every semester in order to continue to take the bus free of charge.
The Tyler Transit typically sells day passes for $2 and monthly passes for $20 dollars. Although the bus routes cover the entire city throughout the day, they do not run on Sundays. The buses stop running at 8:15 p.m. on weekdays and 6 p.m. on Saturdays.
If a student receives a bus pass at the beginning of the semester, they are still eligible to bring a vehicle on campus. However, they will be required to then pay for their parking permit rather than be issued one for free which is the protocol for most student drivers.
This cost is only applied because Campus Police must pay the City of Tyler for the bus pass which is non-refundable. Therefore students will have to absorb the cost of the parking permit.