It’s 9 a.m. on Monday, and the campus is busy with students walking. A TU shuttle passes by, empty. This has become a familiar sight. The majority of buses run empty. After talking with a few students, it becomes clear that the current bus system is raising a lot of unsatisfied complaints. Students generally complain about the school-provided transportation system, especially in regard to times and locations. Even the drivers have little good to say about the system, frequently complaining about the high number of empty rides they have to make. Overall, the bus system is expensive and inefficient.
Why are students not taking the bus? Often, they simply can’t. Buses are very infrequent, usually just two buses running on two campus routes. Also, the buses don’t follow a regular schedule, making it even harder to find a bus on the way to class. Overall, it’s impossible to rely on the bus for everyday transportation.
Another problem is the weekend bus schedule. Usually those buses are more busy, but the student satisfaction with the current weekend system is still low. On Saturday, only one bus runs from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., leaving campus every hour and taking students to two destinations: Target, on South Yale Street, and the Southroads-Promenade Shopping Complex. The bus does not take students on popular dining and shopping venues, such as Woodland Hills Shopping mall, Cherry Street, Utica Square or South Peoria Avenue. Adding a few more locations and stops would be a simple yet efficient solution to make it easier for students that don’t have a car to navigate around Tulsa.
What about the weekday shuttle? Some universities have started car-sharing systems, which make it easier for students to have a reliable method of transportation and to find convenient parking on campus. However, this excludes all the students that cannot drive. Another solution would be to use golf carts. They can be driven by students, lowering the labour cost, and they can be used around the walkways, making it faster that a bus or a car. This solution would be relatively easy to put into practice, due to the large number of golf carts that TU already owns. With lower costs and higher efficiency, student-operated golf carts would be the most convenient transportation system for TU.