For some Cal Poly students, getting out of bed is the hardest part of getting to school, but for communications studies senior Emily Manos, it’s transportation.
“If my roommates weren’t home to drive me to campus I would’ve been 30 minutes late to class because the bus just drove right by me because it was too full. It was really frustrating,” Manos said.
In 2016, LSC Transportation Consultants, Inc. prepared a five-year Short-Range Transit Plan (SRTP) for SLO Transit. As of June 18, SLO Transit implemented these new routes, schedules and fares in response to a study by SLO City Council.
The city made changes to many transit routes servicing Cal Poly and surrounding neighborhoods. Routes 6A and 6B were configured into a bi-directional loop serving Cal Poly and downtown and renumbered 4A and 4B. Routes 4 and 5 were renumbered 3A and 3B, shifting service between downtown and Cal Poly from Grand Avenue to California Boulevard.
Routes 4A and 4B arrive every 45 minutes. Routes 3A and 3B arrive hourly.
“SLO Transit indicated to Cal Poly that these new routes and schedules would create efficiencies and result in better service throughout the entire city. We are hearing now that there are many concerns about these new routes. However, the City of San Luis Obispo is the service provider and decides/sets the schedules,” Lazier said in an email.
Many Cal Poly students have been struggling with the newly implemented bus changes. Students created a Twitter hashtag, #UnsuckSLOTransit, to voice the opinions of frustrated students attempting to bus to campus.
— SLO Bus Riders Union (@badSLOTransit) September 21, 2017
Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) President Riley Nilsen spoke with students to gather more information on the problems they are having with the bus system.
“Something else that was reported was that on the Highland/Foothill Route, 4B, the bus that goes back to campus, you either are an hour ahead or behind a class, so you either have to leave an hour earlier or you get home an hour later. The bus route is essentially backwards,” Nilsen said.
Nilsen has received emails from students expressing frustration and concern with the unreliability of the buses. One student wrote Nilsen an email saying he counted 65 students at a stop passed over by the bus because it was already at capacity.
“It sounds like there has been more ridership from middle schoolers so they have put the double decker [bus] over by Laguna rather than on our CP routes,” Nilsen said in an email to Mustang News.
Many Cal Poly students are channeling their frustration into action by contacting local city officials and employees of SLO Transit. Graphic communication senior Danielle Albertoni was tired of the unreliable buses and decided to contact SLO Transit herself.
“Public works Transit Assistant Dee Lawson said that SLO Transit added services to aid students and their schedules,” Albertoni said. “To keep up these services SLO Transit required more money and asked Cal Poly for funding to cover them yet Lawson stated that Cal Poly declined.”
University spokesperson Matt Lazier said the university has not declined to fund any specific elements of SLO Transit’s programming.
“Cal Poly is fully engaged in working with its partners at the City of San Luis Obispo to help ensure that SLO Transit service meets the needs of our campus community members,” Lazier wrote in an email. “Those discussions are ongoing and, as we have said repeatedly, the university is willing to pay its fair share.”
SLO Transit declined to comment after repeated requests from Mustang News. SLO Transit will hold a meeting Nov. 8 at city hall that includes an open forum for the community. A survey sponsored by Cal Poly Students for Quality Education, Cal Poly Queer Student Union, Comparative Ethnic Studies Student Association, Student Collective and SLO Solidarity was also created to gather feedback on SLO Transit’s new routes.