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The best bus ever
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

New options for BSU commuters

If you ever travel to Boise State University - whether for classes or community events - you know it's a huge hassle to park on or near campus. Moreover, the majority of BSU's 19,000+ students commute to school, adding to the valley's growing traffic load. But BSU seems committed to addressing these issues.

The Arbiter, BSU's student paper, had a story this week on a few new options that may make travel to BSU a bit less wearing. Free shuttle service is now available between the main campus and the BSU West campus in Nampa (which is also set to be home to the new College of Western Idaho). Free service will also be available to BSU from other outlying communities. Read more here.

Don't forget that shuttle service is also available between downtown Boise and BSU on football game days - like today. Go Broncos!

In related news, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter had a re-election fundraiser last night. I wasn't there in time to hear him speak about his vision for a second term, but people told me that his pledge to improve transit got the most applause by far.


Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Hey Julie, I wanted to let you know about the transit blog aggregator I created and added your blog to. If you have any comments or additions please let me know.


Julie in Boise said...

Cool. Thanks for that! I will add it to my blogroll.

slfisher said...

I've been taking the bus two days a week from BSU West, which is 11 miles from my house, over back roads, reverse commute, free and plentiful parking. The bus has actually been way crammed but they gave us a full length bus last week. So far so good. I just wish I could take it more often, but one bus gets in 10 minutes after my class starts, while another leaves 2 minutes before a class ends. sigh.

Julie in Boise said...

Sharon, that sounds excellent - glad they were able to get a bigger bus out there for you. And twice a week is definitely better than not at all. Thank you for doing what you can!

slfisher said...

Along with at least six other people (aside from at least two who gave up), I waited for an hour for the shuttle from the BSU Administration Building stop to the BSU West Campus on September 10th, from 7:25 pm to 8:20 pm. I was on the north side of University, which is where I had caught the shuttle on August 27th, and had been told that that side of the street was the only place it would pick up.

When I got on the bus, the following conversation ensued:

“The 7:25 pm bus didn’t show up.”
Yes, it did, because I drove it.
“Well, we were all here then and we didn’t see it.”
That’s because it picks up on the other side of the street.
“Um, how were we supposed to know that?”
That’s why I’m telling you.
“I mean, how were we supposed to know that in time to catch it?”
Well, this is a new service. You just have to deal with it.

In the meantime, the bus – which is billed as a direct route to BSU West – was taking the circuitous BSU Shuttle route among the health and apartment buildings west of campus, and then going by the stop on the south side of University, across from the administration building. Now I was really confused, and I asked him again why he had stopped on the north side this time and hadn’t done so the previous hour. Oh, he said, he did. I repeated that we hadn’t seen him. He said he had done it at 7:20. He stops on the north side at 20 after, and the south side at 25 after. But if we want to be sure to catch the bus, we should be on the south side. At least, that’s the way we should bet, he said.

The kicker is that when we got dropped off at BSU West at 9 pm, one of the other students stopped to talk to me after we’d gotten off the bus. The driver had indeed come to the north side of the street at 7:20 pm – and seeing a regular BSU Shuttle there, had simply pulled around that bus without stopping. But the driver was so “belligerent” – his word – that he hadn’t wanted to confront him, the student said.

Now, I agree that it’s a new service and everyone needs to cut everyone some slack. On the other hand, I’m getting home an hour late because the route changed with no notification and the driver couldn’t be bothered to stop. On top of that, when I tried to talk to him about it, I got a bunch of attitude. It was like pulling teeth to get information from the driver, and he made it very clear he resented my questions. (To give an idea of his attitude, the student who found him too intimidating to confront had just returned from Iraq.)

And I still don’t know where I’m supposed to catch the bus.

Fortunately, it was September, so the weather is pleasant, but once it gets to be October, I’m not going to want to play the “where am I supposed to catch the bus *this* week?” game – especially if the driver isn’t even making the stops. Not when it's an hour between buses.

Maybe there’s some resentment on the part of drivers that BSU students are causing them extra work, or that we’re not paying our way on the bus. Maybe this guy figures that with passive-aggressive actions like this, enough students will quit riding the bus that BSU will drop the route. I still take the bus because I believe in public transit and that we all need to do our part, but another two-hour trip home and I will be rethinking that.

Julie in Boise said...

Sharon, thanks for sharing this story in DETAIL. One reason I started the bus blog is to help Valley Ride know where its services work and where they don't.

I will also send an email to Valley Ride to be sure they read your account of what happened last night.

I am hoping readership of this blog improves after some publicity coming next week on KBCI. I'll plan to put up a soap box post every other week or so to help people document stories like this.

I will add here that as a regular Valley Ride user, I find most of the drivers to be friendly and helpful. I think this person is probably an exception - or he could have been having a bad day. But please always feel free to post updates here or elsewhere on the blog.

slfisher said...

I sent a copy to Valleyride, and I also sent a copy to the BSU vice president who'd sent the initial email encouraging us to take the bus -- and I heard from her assistant by 8:41 this morning. So I thought that was impressive.