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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

Texas A&M utility Gavin Grahovac (9) throws the ball during A&Ms game against Georgia on Friday, April 26, 2024, at Olsen Field. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Opinion: Where are the buses?

%26%23160%3BCan+taking+a+walk+or+playing+your+favorite+song+when+stressed+be+the+secret+to+academic+success%3F+Opinion+writer+%40anasofiasloane+claims+these+simple+moments+make+the+college+workload+bearable.
Photo by Photo by Ebba Turi

 Can taking a walk or playing your favorite song when stressed be the secret to academic success? Opinion writer @anasofiasloane claims these simple moments make the college workload bearable.

Tired and defeated by a long day of classes and work, with another two hours of class work still to go, I’m excited to finally get home. My mind is numb from a 12-hour day and fatigue is creeping in. The only thing that stands between me and the comfort of my own room is a 30-minute bus ride back to my apartment.

I looked at the transportation services app and saw the bus was scheduled to arrive at the stop in about 10 minutes — I had plenty of time to reach it. My 10-minute wait turned into 30. Frustrated, I opened the app again and saw that the bus was still nowhere near. 

Another 30 minutes later, I contemplated: Where are the buses?

This is a common occurrence for any student attempting to board a bus after 5 p.m.

For the unlucky majority who don’t leave campus until the late evening, you could be stuck there for another two hours depending on the number of buses running the route. If it’s only one bus, then hang tight. It’s going to be a while.

This has become incredibly disappointing, especially since the only bus that travels to my residence takes nearly an hour round trip. Meaning if I’m not constantly watching the app to make sure the bus is finally making its way to my stop and I miss it, it’ll be another hour, or even sometimes two, before I can catch another one. 

Additionally, with Texas’ erratic weather and the inability of meteorologists to accurately predict it, students who must show up to class through rain or shine are forced to prepare for an unspecified amount of time waiting outside for a bus. 

The most obvious problem is the shortage of bus drivers. While the Transportation Services advertise across campus by putting up flyers, posters and ads on Jobs for Aggies, the appeal is not there. 

In short, between physical advertisements, flexible schedules and a wage only competitive with student campus positions, transportation services are reliant on student applicants. While it boasts that it is the highest-paying job on campus, starting at $13 dollars an hour, it is not a reliable income in the grand scheme of things.

I myself have chosen off-campus opportunities due to the wages being more competitive. Any student with necessary expenses can’t support themselves on only $13 an hour. The position becomes very unappealing, especially if an internship/career-related position offers more benefits.

The question becomes — Why does the position continue to be advertised to students when the demand is not there? 

With over 65,000 students, Transportation Services needs to remain reliable in getting students to their respective locations. With the College Station area being over 2,000 square miles, the coverage of the buses is vast, requiring an extensive fleet of drivers. Student workers are unable to fulfill this with their class schedules being inconsistent and availability being limited to working three to four-hour days.  

Instead of focusing on students with limited availability for the position, we should be hiring adults who can fully commit and maintain a steady schedule. 

If we spread the applications to external job-application sites, such as Indeed, and increase wages to make it more appealing, more suitable workers would apply. 

Take primary school buses, for example. They hire full-time adult employees with the only requirements being to have a license and a good driving record. Consequently, the drivers are consistent, safe and run by adults who are dedicated enough to keep up with the rigorous demands.

The Texas A&M buses, while having more stops and routes, perform the same function. Those yellow buses, filled with snotty and loud pubescent children, have us beat. 

I, for one, am tired of waiting. Students would much rather spend their time — that we are literally paying for — on schoolwork and extracurriculars without the concern of; will I get home?

With A&M buses, you can say you’ll get to your location, but you can never say when. 

Saanya Troutman is an English senior and opinion writer for The Battalion.
 

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