If you stood outside the Scott Hall bus stop at 12:45PM, and waited 5 minutes for classes to let out, you would just get a glimpse of the monstrosity of what Rutgers University busing is all about. As a student that had class from 11:30AM to 12:50PM two days a week last semester, the struggle of getting on a bus at that bus stop was not only nerve-wracking, but scary, dangerous, and overall, pathetic. Students became aggressive, shoving people over to the side just to claim there spot on the edge of the sidewalk, praying that the doors would open right in front of them. Some wouldn’t wait for those getting off to get off before they stepped on, and every now and then, not-so-kind words would be shared amongst everyone.
The worst thing of all was that I just described myself. When you only have a 20 minute gap between classes, desperate times call for desperate measures. Did I paint a lovely image in your head of what this issue is like? Because in reality, this is reality. This happens everyday at Rutgers University at any given bus stop, and it will continue to be a growing issue as more and more students are accepted to the University.
I would have to say that this issue is so much more than what it appears to be, because any random person would yell “Add more buses!” to try to answer the problem. But if that were the case, then I wouldn’t be writing this blog in a Starbucks right at this very second. What I found during my role in this ASMCP project is that Rutgers University chooses to enroll too many students. From lecture halls to student centers, from dormitories to buses, too many students bring about too many problems. And what’s worse is that students constantly complain and bicker, yet choose not to find any solution and point fingers at a collective nobody.
My role within this project was to focus on how this issue affects the Rutgers University Programming Association, more commonly known on campus as RUPA. And being a member, planning a wide array of events per month, attendees are vital to what we stand for as an organization. We coordinate concerts and coffeehouses, movie screenings and comedy shows, annual festivals and charities, and lectures and crafts for them to enjoy outside of the classroom, a good number of them being free. But free isn’t even worth it in their eyes when they realize they have to get on a REXL just to get there.
So how do we go about solving this issue? Since we are still in the process in finding answers, there are three ways we can move forward.
First, we need to be more transparent. The reason why students constantly complain and bicker is because they never get the answers they are looking for. And this just leads to a very heated, angry tweet with the infamous hashtag “RUscrewed”. By opening this gateway between students, faculty, staff, and most importantly, public safety, students can better understand the reasons as to why things happen the way they do, and the university can understand how big of an issue this problem creates for its students. By taking the time to understand everyone’s position, we can collectively find a better solution instead of aggressively pointing fingers. And we can do this by interviewing different people from all aspects that this issue affects and hearing what they have to say.
Second, we need to take the time and listen to what public safety has to say. As a student, overpopulation and buses can actually get very dangerous. From crossing streets, to filling up a bus past capacity, to what I mentioned previously with waiting at the edge of a crowded sidewalk for the bus to approach, we can’t wait until a tragedy strikes to make moves. Things like these can easily be avoided with new regulations that public safety can voice. So we definitely need to work a lot with them as the University continues to grow and expand.
Lastly, as we search for answers, we can definitely improve upon the current situation and find better ways in moving around campus. For example, students can easily bike, walk, or carpool if their means allow. It saves space for others that are actually trying to get to far destinations, as well as space on the roads during rush hour. Walking and using bicycles also saves energy and gas, creating a more greener environment for everyone. We can continue strides like these and find more innovative ways in using buses. This can mean solar panels on the roofs of buses that energize the buses itself, or turning engines off at student centers when they need to stall for ten minutes. Choices like these can greatly alleviate the problem we are facing today.