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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Campus

Campus Loop bus routes ending in fall semester


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Before the fall semester begins, the Campus Loop buses will switch to the ERP-Eastwood route. | Ajani Stewart/The Cougar

A previous version of this article ran without mentioning the possibility of further route changes.

Parking and Transportation Services will discontinue two bus routes, Campus Loop and Outer Loop, beginning Aug. 15, and changes to the shuttles that stop at the Energy Research Park may be announced this week, said Jessica Mize, communications coordinator for Auxiliary Services.

Eric Holamon, assistant director of customer relations, believes the Campus Loop was a waste of the UH’s money and needed to be phased out. Each day, the Campus Loop carried an average of 130 passengers while the ERP routes averaged around 500.

“We review ridership of all routes on an ongoing basis,” Holamon said. “The Campus Loop was our most underutilized route. Shuttle service accounts for 17 percent of our operating budget. The cost per passenger on the Campus Loop illustrated that this was not a good use of our resources.”

Holamon said the Campus Loop buses will switch to the ERP-Eastwood route. In the fall, 800 new parking spaces will be available at the ERP.

The Outer Loop route will be restructured into two new routes, one toward Bayou Oaks and the other to Cullen Oaks.

Mathematics junior Faith Clause frequently visits Bayou Oaks. She said the Outer Loop buses filled up “at least every other day” at that stop, forcing students to walk or wait for another bus. Clause also said drivers often turned away students who expected the buses to take them to class on time.

“The cut-up lines will mean buses go to and from Bayou faster,” said Robert Pennington, a computer information systems junior and resident at Bayou Oaks. “Sometimes the wait for a bus at Bayou would take the time it would have taken to walk to class. Less waiting time gets you on campus faster, and once at the UC, not many things are really more than a three-minute walk away.”

Biology junior Kevin Saravia believes that the Campus Loop route’s untimeliness was why it wasn’t used frequently.

“I think this change a good idea,” Saravia said. “The campus isn’t even that big, anyway. I always find myself just walking to class instead of waiting for a bus, and then when I get on it it’s usually empty. Buses should prioritize ERP since it’s becoming a popular choice. They should reach out to the students living in apartments and the farthest lots off of Wheeler.”

While marketing junior Jordyn Chaffold agrees with Saravia that the Campus Loop was unpopular, he thinks the new lines to Bayou Oaks and Cullen Oaks are unfair.

“The Campus Loop was extremely inconvenient unless you needed to get somewhere far on campus,” Chaffold said. “But it’s garbage that people living in Bayou get the liberty of being shipped to the (University Center) South while people at Cullen have to go to PGH. The UC is the most popular place on campus.”

On weekdays this fall and spring 2017, the buses will run as late as 11 p.m. If students need to traverse campus after that time, requesting a security escort from UHPD may be their only option.

“The elimination of the Campus Loop will not affect security services to the University of Houston,” said Sgt. Dina M. Padovan, the campus crime prevention coordinator.

The new Cullen Oaks Route will stop at Agnes Arnold Hall, Lamar Fleming Hall, parking lot 9C, and Cullen Oaks. | Courtesy of Parking and Transportation Services

Starting August 15, the new Bayou Oaks Route will stop at the Student Center South, Campus Recreation and Wellness Center, parking lot 4A and Bayou Oaks. | Courtesy of Parking and Transportation Services

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