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Opinion: Plagued with issues, Thompson Point buses are worse than walking

The+Campus+Loop+bus+departs+from+its+bus+stop+on+Wednesday%2C+April%2C+2019%2C+in+front+of+SIU%E2%80%99s+Student+Center.+
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Opinion: Plagued with issues, Thompson Point buses are worse than walking

The Campus Loop bus departs from its bus stop on Wednesday, April, 2019, in front of SIU’s Student Center.

The Campus Loop bus departs from its bus stop on Wednesday, April, 2019, in front of SIU’s Student Center.

Carson VanBuskirk | @carsonvanbDE

The Campus Loop bus departs from its bus stop on Wednesday, April, 2019, in front of SIU’s Student Center.

Carson VanBuskirk | @carsonvanbDE

Carson VanBuskirk | @carsonvanbDE

The Campus Loop bus departs from its bus stop on Wednesday, April, 2019, in front of SIU’s Student Center.

By Grace Schneider and Emily Cooper

The buses are a means of transportation for students on campus but Thompson Point Direct is a struggle bus that practically tells you to walk instead.

Providing students with serious wait times, technical difficulties, safety hazards and unpredictable schedules, Thompson Point Direct fails to deliver time after time.

Tablets and the Rider App: TPD drivers should have tablets on every ride. These tablets should sync with passengers’ phones for the Rider app – this way, passengers can see where they are, and how long to their destination.

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However, these tablets either frequently die or the drivers don’t bring the tablets onto the buses. Therefore the riders are left clueless about where the bus actually is or how long it will take it to get around.

Standalone, the Rider app is inconsistent at best and worthless at worst. Too many times the Rider app either doesn’t show the bus at all, the map stalls or it says the bus is in Marion, miles away from the actual route.

I rode the bus my first semester of college. Wanting to try Trueblood for dinner, and too lazy to walk, my friends and I used the Rider app to track the bus. We waited for an extra 20 minutes, the bus never came and we ended up walking. It still remains just as unreliable.

Accountability: The drivers need to be held accountable for keeping their schedules. Students are frequently late to class because they depend on a bus that isn’t running on time. The buses are supposed to take 15 minutes to get from one end of campus to the other.

Drivers should take bathroom, meal, or smoke breaks during allotted break times, especially during the day when the majority of students have classes.

If the break times aren’t enough for the drivers, it’s still on Rides Mass Transit District to create a system that doesn’t make the drivers derail their schedules.

It is not fair or right of drivers to stop for a smoke break in the middle of a route when a bus full of students have labs, lectures, work, or practice to get to on time.

These drivers’ jobs are to drive the buses on schedule, but the bus service isn’t through the college, therefore giving me the impression that they don’t care about time or keeping a schedule.

Drivers also can take 15-25 minutes at the Student Center when switching shifts or buses. While I understand the need to switch buses, the students should be given a schedule of when these shifts take place so that they can plan around them and get to class on time.

Posting hours: There is no schedule posted regarding TPD’s hours. There is also no reliable way to communicate with the riders/students when the buses are not running on schedule or not running at all.

Over the winter, buses would stop running early if the storms were too bad, but the only way to communicate this was to tell students as they got on and off the bus.

This was both dangerous and extremely frustrating as students could have been left stranded in the middle of a storm with no way to get back to their dorms.

Furthermore, if a college is going to put roughly 400 students a mile away from the only working dining hall, they should be providing adequate transportation to those students so that they can still have access to meals.

Some students don’t get out of extracurriculars, work or class until 8 p.m. or later, not being able to get to dinner until 9 p.m. So if a bus stops running at 7 p.m. with this little of notice, it potentially robs students of their only way to get dinner or home.

The unspoken rule of drivers skipping bus stops isn’t consistent across the different drivers. Sometimes they skip a stop since no one is there, or no one tells them they want off. Other times they stop at every stop no matter what.

If there was a consistent rule this wouldn’t be an issue. But as it stands, we would rather walk in the rain than take Thompson Point Direct.

Staff reporter Grace Schneider can be reached at [email protected].

Staff reporter Emily Cooper can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @ecooper212.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Opinion: Plagued with issues, Thompson Point buses are worse than walking”

  1. Tom Hebel on April 21st, 2019 7:31 pm

    Walk to class
    That’s what we did years ago

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