UA Transportation system grows with enrollmentBy Jennifer Johns | 01/21/2018 10:04pm
As students brave the cold to go to class, bus ridership has increased.
"Typically it is every winter that we see a slight increase," said James Knickrehm, associate director of transit for UA’s Transportation Services.
Knickrehm said with every new semester there is an increase in ridership. New students who have transferred or come from abroad also factor into the increase. Because the number of people riding the bus has increased overall in the last few years, Knickrehm said, it is hard to pin the increase on one thing.
UA Transportation tries to predict how many students will utilize the bus system. Knickrehm said the department works closely with parking services so they can adjust the flow of assets. Last year’s numbers led the Crimson Ride to add the Coleman Rocket and another bus to the Northeast Commuter route.
“We talk to incoming students at Bama Bound, we tell them that they can’t all come at the same time,” Knickrehm said. “With almost 40,000 students, it’s interesting because what works for one person does not work for another, so we try to provide a consistent service any student can use when they can.”
One thing that can concern a crowded bus this time of year is the flu spreading around. UA Transportation has a cleaning crew that cleans the buses every night, Knickrehm said.
“We are using more Clorox to make sure the buses are as clean as we can make them,” Knickrehm said.
However, the bus system cannot prevent an infected student from riding a bus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people cover their nose or mouth with a tissue when they sneeze or cough, wash hands often and limit contact with others while sick to stop spreading germs.
Taelor Wallace, a sophomore majoring in civil engineering, is appreciative of the drivers as well as the bus system as a whole, but she said it is each student’s responsibility to make sure they set enough time for themselves to catch a ride.
“I think it's definitely the students responsibility [to make sure they get to a bus],” Wallace said. “I love that a driver – his name is Jimmy – will wait for those in the parking lot [to] get to the bus.”