Transit system grows, improves on campus

Photo taken by Katie West

Photo taken by Katie West

The ECU transit system made small changes that have shown growth in use and benefits to students.

Wood Davidson, director of ECU Transit, said there was a huge increase in the users of the NextBus service. The service allows students to track their bus from anywhere using the mobile phone app or computer.

“In November, we had about 8,000 NextBus users; in January it was 11,000,” said Davidson. “Over the spring semester the numbers jumped to 25,000 users.”

Davidson said students can benefit from using the service during the summer sessions because the buses don’t run as often. The run times are cut by two-thirds compared to the peak times during the fall and spring semesters.

“They can see where the bus is and when it will arrive at the stop. This way they don’t have to wait 40 minutes for their bus,” said Davidson.

Occasionally, students will complain about the tracking service not working on a certain bus. Davidson said when this happens they pull the bus out of service until the problem is repaired.

“These things fail from time to time,” said Davidson. “We slap a maintenance sticker on it and it’s another issue to tackle.”

Davidson said the last major changes to the bus routes were the additions of Copper Beech and The Bellamy.

“That makes a total of eight large apartment complexes that we have service contracts with,” said Davidson. “The students living in those complexes have to pay the $146 transit fee as well as pay their complex for the bus service.”

Davidson said this is because these students receive exceptional service. These buses go straight from the place these students live to campus.

“It doesn’t make sense to give regular students a fee increase to cover the cost and equipment used by the students living in large complexes,” said Davidson.

During the summer sessions, the afternoon routes are the same as the night routes during fall and spring. Some apartment complexes, like The Bellamy and The Landing, share a bus. Davidson said this is how they keep the cost of the transit system low for students.

“We think about the capacity, how we can group together,” said Davidson. “We explain to people that’s how we keep the cost down and they understand.”

Davidson said students are enjoying the extended night service offered by the transit system. The night service goes until 10:30 p.m. and is an extension of the afternoon combo routes.

“We had a lot of students complain about not being able to get back to campus during the evening,” said Davidson. “They didn’t understand why they couldn’t get on the bus when it was at their stop to drop students off.”

Family and Community Service major Kristina Campbell said she was surprised there wasn’t always a night service.

“Sometimes students need to come back to campus at night, especially during exams in the fall and spring semesters,” Campbell said.

Campbell lives at The Bellamy and she has to ride on the combo route bus. “It sucks, but I understand,” she said. “There aren’t a lot of people here during the summer.”

Campbell said because of her bus stopping at two complexes using NextBus makes it easier.

“I use the system probably once a day,” she said. “It’s nice because it picks up on your location and tells you only the buses that are available to come to you.”

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