Courtesy of Ohio State
Many changes were predicted with the switch to semesters from quarters, but congestion and delays in Ohio State’s Campus Area Bus Service was one many students hadn’t planned for.
The shorter class periods mean more class changes and more pedestrian traffic.
“Generally, when you have a major change like quarter to semester at the beginning of the year, everyone is just readjusting anyway, getting used to their schedule, getting used to being on campus,” said Lindsay Komlanc, director of marketing and communications for OSU’s Administration and Planning. “Motorists are trying to get used to pedestrians, pedestrians are trying to get used to motorists.”
The constant movement of students on campus has caused many delays in bus routes, making some students late for class. CABS aims to have no more than a 14-minute wait time between bus stops, but ideally runs at seven-minute intervals, especially during the school year.
However, the CABS drivers are noticing some different problems that are causing delays this year.
“They’re seeing a lot of texting and walking, and that’s really taking away the awareness and it’s concerning,” said Beth Kelley-Snoke, director of Transportation and Parking Services. “Students need to be aware of what’s around them.”
Kelley-Snoke explained that the constant flow of pedestrians who are not using the crosswalks is really what is slowing the buses down.
“We depend a lot on our drivers to keep their eyes open watching for pedestrians, but we need the students to be aware of their surroundings as well,” Kelley-Snoke said.
“I treat the students like they’re vehicles,” said CABS bus driver Bob Smithberge. “It’s like I’m driving five vehicles; the one I’m in, the one in front, behind and on either side of me.”
This November will mark Smithberge’s 14th year driving buses for CABS. He said he’s always prepared to stop, especially in the areas where pedestrian traffic is traditionally high.
“You never know what they’re going to do,” Smithberge said.
At least one CABS rider hasn’t noticed a difference.
Lance Reeves, a third-year in exercise science education, said she thinks the buses have stayed the same with the conversion from quarters to semesters “for the most part.”
But for those students who said they have been affected by the delays, there are already talks of making changes.
“We are looking at the system to make sure that we can be responsive to any adjustments that are needed because of the change to semesters, and because of what we’re seeing out there,” Kelley-Snoke said.
The buses are equipped with technology that monitors the traffic of people getting on and off the bus at any given time, along with the time it takes for each bus to get from one stop to another.
There are also the new Transportation Route Information Program (TRIP) signs that can be found at most CABS stops that inform riders of what bus is coming and at approximately what time.
“When you have a campus this big with this many people and everybody’s trying to get to where they need to go, you have a lot of modes of transportation,” Kelley-Snoke said.
According to Ohio law, pedestrians have the right of way, but Kelley-Snoke said students should still take into consideration the flow of traffic.
“We all have to share the road,” Kelley-Snoke said.