SLO Transit is increasing and expanding bus services starting this week.
The changes include the renewal of Route 6X, which runs from the Performing Arts Center to the Downtown Transit Center from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays to meet increased bus needs for Farmers Market.
In addition, starting Oct. 9, Route 4A will be supplemented by the “Highland Tripper” route. This runs from about 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. during peak ridership hours and goes to various high-demand stops on Ramona Drive, Palomar Avenue, Foothill Boulevard, Patricia Drive and Highland Drive, according to an email sent .
Beginning in November, the hours for Routes 3B and 4B will extend to run until 10:30 p.m. Route 3A will run every 30 minutes from approximately 6 a.m. to noon and Route 3B will run every 30 minutes from approximately 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. These changes are to accommodate demand for travel to and from campus, according to the email.
To prevent students from being stranded when crowded buses have to pass by stops, “sweeper” buses will be doubling their efforts to help those unable to board.
Additionally, the SLO Transit app will now list the capacity of each bus, available seats and standing room.
The changes are the result of “a collaborative effort to address the growing need for public transportation options and help both Cal Poly and the City in efforts to decrease our environmental impact, ease traffic in our communities, and meet the transportation demands throughout the entire city,” according to an email from Cal Poly Transportation and Parking Services sent to the Cal Poly community Oct. 5.
These changes came after a survey report regarding SLO Transit was released by various community groups to address needs and suggest changes.
About 54 percent of survey respondents said they had experienced full buses passing their stop. Eighty-two percent said they had experienced buses being uncomfortably crowded.
The survey report presented several suggestions, including increasing the frequency of service on routes 3A, 3B, 4A and 4B. They also suggested adding “sweeper” buses to avoid passing bus stops because of full buses.
In a post to the Cal Poly SLO Class of 2018 Thursday, Associated Students, Inc. President Riley Nilsen said she had been hearing concerns from students about SLO Transit.
“I have been working diligently with Cal Poly and the City of San Luis Obispo to address your emails, notes and comments,” Nilsen wrote. “This was something that was agreed on but will take time to implement. Nevertheless, this is exciting news for the students!”
Update Monday, Oct. 9:
According to Nilsen, the initial changes to bus routes were made by a transportation engineer hired by the city to increase efficiency. However, because routes were not as heavily impacted over summer before school began, the city wasn’t able to assess how effective the changes would be and what other adjustments needed to be made.
“The goal of the changes was noble, however, if riders were getting left at stops or being crammed into the back of the bus to make room for more riders, something needed to change,” Nilsen wrote in an email to Mustang News.
Nilsen said the newest changes were agreed upon after a Student Liaison Committee meeting. The Student Liaison Committee is a group that includes Cal Poly and Cuesta College representatives and city leaders.