It’s safe to say that attitudes concerning transit to and from campus have been negative since the semester started. The introduction of a new bus route system was the cherry on top of a combination of other unpopular changes, including former president Eric Barron leaving his position, Senator John Thrasher advancing in the presidential search process, and an unnecessary new logo. This Wednesday, a town hall meeting was held in the Oglesby Union Ballrooms at 2 and 5 p.m. A combination of students (both undergraduate and graduate), faculty, and staff showed up to voice their opinions; the vast majority were seniors.
Matthew Inman, the newly appointed Director of Transportation Services, hosted the event and made it clear from the beginning that the meeting was a discussion, not a presentation. He started by giving his credentials, stating that he has been in parking and transportation for 23 years and he started in his field doing such menial jobs as maintenance and worked his way up. He also said that he has riding the buses himself to see just how bad the situation is, spending up to 4 hours one day on the Garnet route, and he has kept track of all the comments made in the Facebook group that was started in protest of the new route changes.
After Mr. Inman’s short introduction, the question-and-answer portion of the meeting began. Students stated what their main issues with the new system were, including buses that were
too full and would pass up students at stops, the need to transfer at University Center C, removal of stops, insufficient Renegade service, and long travel times. Probably the most shocking statement Inman gave was that he did not know what the previous routes were nor who came up with the new system and why; he said that the changes were in motion long before he was appointed as the new director. Everyone cheered when he said that changing the routes back to the way they were was an option. He also stated that the transportation department is currently going over budget to provide two extra buses because of the extremely high demand for transit to and from campus. Mr. Inman said in the long term that more buses would be added, but that he is concerned about the financial structure of the transportation department since similar universities have separate fees for parking and transit.
The TransLoc app was also a point of discussion. One student said that she could not tell the difference between the Garnet and Heritage routes on the app because they appear to be the same color, to which Mr. Inman replied that they are in the process of being updated. Another student said that he thinks the TransLoc app is a great resource but that it is not being used to its full potential because the times are frequently incorrect. Inman said that that will be taken into account and that the StarMetro drivers will be spoken to about how fast they drive.
Mr. Inman said that major changes will be implemented in the upcoming weeks and months. Some changes have already been put into motion, mainly the reinstallation of the Heritage route. He also encouraged students, staff, and faculty to e-mail him with their own concerns and requests at his FSU e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org. He said that he reads all of them and if they are short he will reply as soon as possible.
TLDR: Everything is going to be okay. Calm down.
by ERIN HAJDUK / assistant news editor