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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Behind the buses

An+AggieSpirit+bus+parked+on+Asbury+St.+on+Jan.+23%2C+2022.
Photo by Cameron Johnson

An AggieSpirit bus parked on Asbury St. on Jan. 23, 2022.

Transportation Services plays an important, often unseen, role in helping students get from point A to point B using the bus system.
Transportation Services handles many different areas on campus, including parking, traffic planning and the bus system. Through these buses, Aggies have access to transportation both on and off campus and bus routes can be found on the Bus Routes website. Transportation Services often hires student workers to drive the buses after giving them proper training, which allows students the ability to juggle work with school.
Tad Fifer is the communications manager at Transportation Services and said their main goal is to make sure transportation is held to the highest standard to help Aggies.
“We really just try to provide the best services and the most comprehensive services that we can to meet the needs of the community,” Fifer said.
Before students start driving their fellow Aggies around, Fifer said they undergo training to make sure they’re fully confident.
“The students are pretty prepared once they’re actually hitting the road,” Fifer said. “It can seem like a daunting thing, driving a 40-foot bus. But [the students] have an unbelievable training program.”
Student bus drivers play an essential role in transporting their peers around campus and Fifer said he is especially grateful for their work.
“We really can’t do this without our student workers,” Fifer said. “They’re the lifeforce of the transit service.”
Justin Tippy is the transit manager at Transportation Services and said they carry 35,000 to 38,000 passengers on buses daily.
“If the buses weren’t carrying that many people, think about where all those people would be,” Tippy said. “They’d all be in cars trying to find a parking spot.”
With around 65 buses running for 12-13 hours each day, Tippy said they’re always looking to hire more students.
“We hire anywhere from six to 10 student drivers a week,” Tippy said. “As long as we keep getting applications, we will just hire as many as we can.”
Meredith Moore, Class of 2000, drove the buses during her time on campus and said she enjoyed building connections with other bus drivers.
“Still one of the best jobs I’ve ever had,” Moore said. “Similar to Fish Camp Counselors and Orientation Leaders, there was a sense of camaraderie with your fellow drivers.”
During Moore’s time as a bus driver, she said most of the buses did not have working air conditioning, making hot days especially miserable.
“The larger buses had air conditioning, so they were usually put on campus routes,” Moore said. “Off-campus tended to get the older, smaller non-AC buses. We did have radios, though.”
During her senior year, Moore said she worked the front desk of Transportation Services where she worked with data, helping her in her career.
“I built a database with common streets [and] neighborhoods to help,” Moore said. “Data and databases is pretty much my entire career now, and that little database was a huge confidence boost for me.”
Agriculture systems management sophomore Koby Stone is a current bus driver and said he enjoys his job,and would encourage students to check it out as a possibility.
“It’s a really good job that pays well,” Stone said. “I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for that kind of flexibility.”
Being a bus driver is adjustable, Stone said, and he’s able to balance schoolwork with work well.
“You send in your schedule and they give you a chance to pick your routes that work around your school schedule,” Stone said.
Despite his nerves, Stone said he felt prepared to hit the road after training.
“Training was a lot because you’re driving around random people, but it’s about 60 hours worth of training,” Stone said. “Thirty [hours] of it is out-of-service training.”

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