I have been commuting by the Anteater Express for more than a year now and the recent route changes have negatively affected me by making it more difficult to get to my classes on time. There are instances where I have been late to classes because the A line has been cut and because I didn’t know about some stop changes. To serve UCI students more effectively, Anteater Express should adequately inform students about route changes, increase their number of buses and stops, and analyze peak times and adjust bus line accordingly.
The Mesa Court Housing Office stop has been discontinued, and I was not aware until I got into the bus and figured it out from the map on the Anteater Express’s website. I had an event to attend and had planned to leave accordingly, assuming that I would be on time if the bus dropped me off at the Mesa Court office. But instead, I had to walk from the University Town Center to the Newkirk Alumni Center. It would have helped me to know about the stop changes beforehand. It would be more helpful if Anteater Express had arranged to send an email alert out to all students who were blindsided by the route changes this year.
Adding to the inconvenience, the M line stop at East Campus Housing is always so crowded because of the discontinuation of the A line. Due to this overcrowding, I was five minutes late for my first class of the year! Five minutes may not be a lot for some students, but for me, it is a big deal, because I am always early to my classes. I do not like missing out on anything said by the professor or any announcements in general. By the time I entered, the professor had already introduced himself and the TAs and given a brief overview of the course.
This incident infuriated me because I had left my apartment half an hour early but did not reach campus on time because of overcrowding. I had to wait for a very long time and finally got into the third bus that came five minutes before my class was about to start. I know that this stop usually has a lot of students at peak times. For example, if you have a 10 a.m. class, you would find the stops more crowded after 9:30 a.m. than before. But this quarter, the lines are even longer than I have ever experienced because of the A line not being in service.
Every year, the number of students at UCI increases, resulting in Anteater Express overcrowding. Thus, instead of cutting buses during such an impacted year, it would help to make some changes like increasing the number of buses and drivers to avoid inconveniences especially during peak times due to route changes.
Additionally, in anticipation of peak class times such as 9 a.m., it would help to have a couple of extra shuttles sent in to accommodate students who did not get into the earlier shuttles. This can be implemented for timings such as 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. because from my experience, that is when buses are most crowded. It would also help to change the frequency to around 4 minutes. Once the peak times are identified, a solution can be adapted.
Apurva Jakhanwal is a third-year computer science major. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.