Sophomore Kaleigh Knapp usually ends up just running to her 9 a.m. class.
Knapp said she frequently gets passed by a loaded bus on the A route on Mondays and Fridays at 8:40 a.m. coming from her house on Hillsborough Street.
“I usually end up walking because the next one comes at (9:30 a.m.), and my class is at (9 a.m.), so I end up running,” she said.
Many students are upset with buses passing them by, but Chapel Hill Transit bus drivers and dispatchers say they are doing the best they can.
Director Brian Litchfield said Chapel Hill Transit monitors its customer load on a regular basis and tries to send extra buses on busy routes.
“We know that the U, RU, J, NS and A are full a lot of the time, so we try very hard to accommodate by running tripper buses where we know demand exists.”
Tripper buses are buses used to pick up people who couldn’t ride the original buses.
Litchfield said the bus driver has discretion when deciding if a bus is too full.
“It is unsafe for a bus to be too full, and it is fairly common during peak hours,” he said.
“If an operator’s bus becomes overloaded, they have to contact the dispatch center and buses will be sent out on that route.”
Junior Quaston Murray said buses pass him at least once a week in the early morning at his Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard stop in front of the Sheps Center.
“I feel like sometimes the buses are pretty packed from the people that live farther down that they need some more buses in the morning,” he said.
“They should have one extra at least before the 8 a.m. classes because people that get up for those classes are obviously going to ride the buses.”
Litchfield said the broken electronic bus schedule sign in front of the Health Sciences Library on North Columbia Street will hopefully be fixed and moved before the students come back next fall.
“We are looking to move the sign and are also in the process of putting up a shelter, so we would like to finish those two things at around the same time.”
Litchfield said he utilizes the bus service on a fairly regular basis, and he has experienced overcrowding problems on the J and D routes as well.
“As a rider, I know it is frustrating for the bus not showing up or not picking you up,” he said.
Chapel Hill Transit is sometimes able to predict where the overcrowding will take place, but whenever a new fall semester starts the organization has to figure out where students have moved in the community, Litchfield said.
“Some of the demands are on a route that may not be the same as when the fall school semester starts. Students move, so we have to adjust.”
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