Many students may head to Sixth Street on the weekend, but not everyone can get there on his or her own. Students often rely on several E-Bus routes to get downtown, but recent changes to the stops might leave them stranded.
The routes of the E-Buses — short for Eating and Entertainment Bus — have recently changed and may cause some confusion for students, since the Capital Metro website has not yet been updated.
“There’s a delay,” CapMetro spokeswoman Melissa Ayala said. “The website updates take time and will be caught up as soon as possible.”
There are three E-Bus routes: 410, 411 and 412. All the routes previously dropped off and picked up at Seventh Street and San Jacinto Boulevard. The 410 & 412 have moved to Seventh Street and Neches Street, and the 411 will now be at Sixth Street and Brazos Street.
Biology sophomore Dulce Vasquez was one of many students who had trouble finding the new bus locations on time.
“[A friend and I] were down there last weekend and went to the old bus stop first,” Vasquez said. “There were a bunch of people there and then somebody started saying the bus wasn’t going to stop there. My friend found the new stop on her phone and we had to haul it down there. We barely caught the last bus of the night.”
Ayala said the changes to the E-Bus routes were implemented to maximize efficiency in the busy area downtown.
“We were operating at the old locations for some time and we’ve had ongoing discussions with adjacent businesses about the location,” Ayala said. “Due to the amount of students and buses, the new stops were better located.”
The route changes come at a time when other route disruptions are sparking public debate. CapMetro announced Aug. 28 that the UT shuttle routes near the Cameron Road and Wickersham Lane areas would be canceled in spring of 2014.
Transportation engineering professor Randy Machemehl, who has spent several years as a faculty member on the UT Committee on Parking Strategies, said funding problems have caused recent route changes and cuts within the UT shuttle bus system.
“The basic issue we have been dealing with for a couple of years now is that the funding for the shuttle comes through the student services fee,” Machemehl said. “The fees committee has not been able to increase the amount of money that goes to the shuttles. Meanwhile, the cost of running the shuttles has gone up.”
Machemehl said he thinks further routes will be cut until the budget is changed.
“We’re trying to make sure nobody loses access to campus,” Machemehl said. “Shuttle routes will continue to be replaced by Capital Metro. In the future there will have to be an increase in student services fees.”
Ayala said the E-Bus route changes were not affected by the UT shuttle budget because they are operated separately by CapMetro.
For now, students may have a hard time adjusting to the new E-Bus stops, but Ayala said CapMetro has no plans to move them again soon.
“We have permanently moved the pick-up and drop-off,” Ayala said.