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The Daily Tar Heel

Officials Hope New Buses Will Remedy Congestion

But officials admit that although there is a problem with buses running on time, the problem should be fixed when new buses are purchased in October.

Nazarene Tubman, a freshman from Silver Springs, Md., said that although she knows that the shuttle is supposed to come every fifteen minutes, she doesn't think that is the case.

"That doesn't happen all the time," she said. "Sometimes they come right after each other."

Mary Lou Kuschatka, director of transportation for Chapel Hill, said ideally there should be three buses running on each shuttle route during peak hours, from roughly 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. But there are two buses running on each route during peak hours, and three buses during nonpeak hours.

During the peak hours, less buses run because they are needed for other routes, Kuschatka said. She said there are not extra buses to add to the route at this time but that 17 additional buses, which will be utilized for routes in addition to the U and Reverse U, have been purchased and are expected to arrive in late October.

Jennie Beeker, a freshman from Concord, said she rides the U bus every day. She said the U bus is convenient for her because it picks her up in front of her residence hall and drops her off right next to her classes.

But Beeker said other aspects of the bus are inconvenient. "I still can't figure out when they come (to Hinton James)," she said. "In the mornings they don't come that often, and then one will finally come and it will be full. That's really frustrating."

Kuschatka said students aren't the only ones who have noticed delays. "Drivers have brought it to our attention that buses are very full," Kuschatka said. "Sometimes they can't get all of the students on who want on."

UNC buses hold approximately 60 riders at capacity.

Kuschatka said she plans to begin re-evaluating the bus schedules in October to determine which routes are consistently on time and which need to be reworked.

Bus drivers have a block schedule that they follow to keep on time, but some deviation from the schedule is inevitable, Kuschatka said. "There will be times when buses are unable to stay on schedule due to traffic and class changes."

The re-evaluation will continue in January, when the entire town bus system goes fare-free, because many students who could be served by other routes take the U and Reverse U shuttles simply because they are free, Kuschatka said.

Kuschatka said she believes students will be more willing to take other routes once the new fare-free system goes into effect. "We anticipate that once the system goes fare-free, the load will spread out."

The University Editor can be reached


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