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TPAC hopes to partner with Fort Bend County to expand transportation to Sugar Land

“We are hoping to partner with Fort Bend Transit System to hopefully get the stops implemented,” said TPAC committee member Anahi Ortega. | Len Duenas/The Cougar

As students navigate between the UH’s main campus and its Sugar Land extension, transportation challenges have sparked proactive measures aimed at improving connectivity.

The Transportation and Parking Advisory Committee has initiated discussions with Fort Bend County Transportation to augment existing transit options, responding to student feedback and evolving needs.

“There have been so many issues with the shuttle in the past few months. The permits sold out so quickly that it was almost impossible to get one, ” computer science junior Angela Abrea said. “When I came here I didn’t realize I would have classes there and it really shouldn’t be that hard to get to my class.” 

Two proposed scenarios have emerged from TPAC’s recent survey, inviting student input on potential enhancements to the current transportation landscape.

Scenario one proposes an additional stop on Fort Bend County’s Park-and-Ride route from AMC First Colony 24 in Sugar Land to UH’s main campus. The estimated costs vary based on frequency, offering students flexibility in their commuting choices.

Scenario two extends this concept, envisioning two additional stops from the Sugar Land campus to the main campus. Again, costs are tailored to accommodate varying commuting schedules.

“We are hoping the survey provides us with information to take back to the Fort Bend Transit System to show that either students support it or they don’t and we can hopefully get the stops implemented,” TPAC committee member Anahi Ortega said.

Students are encouraged to provide feedback on the proposed scenarios, assessing their appeal and likelihood of utilization. Factors such as pricing and convenience are under scrutiny to ensure alignment with student preferences.

“For me, the extra mode of transportation would be really helpful because I’m honestly tired of dealing with the unpredictable arrival times of the shuttle,” Abrea said.

After complaints of overcrowding, UH first announced the implementation of a permit system in November, where students without a UH parking permit had to purchase a shuttle permit for $239. Priority was given to students with classes at both campuses or living on the main campus, but many students found that the permits were sold out despite being on the waitlist.

Parking and Transportation then issued additional permits for priority students; however, many students felt like the permits were unfair to those already paying for parking permits. Parking and Transportation services then suggested alternate transportation options, including carpool permits. 

“I think it is unfair how the current way the shuttle is funded,” English and media production senior Gwyneth De Pass said. “If someone is paying for a parking permit, they are funding the shuttle with their money, and I think they should be able to use the shuttle if they wish to.” 

Already hosting classes for the Technology Division, the College of Nursing and the College of Education, the University has recently broken ground on a new UH at Sugar Land instructional site. The construction will allow the Technology Division to finalize its full transition to the Sugar Land campus by 2025. 

“They are breaking ground on a second location in Sugar Land, so attendance is about to go up and more students will need to travel there,” Ortega said. “There are roughly 8,000 students who live in Sugar Land, so by adding another way to get to campus would help out a tremendous amount of students.”

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