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Moving the campus bus stop is bad for WSU Vancouver students

C-Tran has officially removed the Washington State University Vancouver campus bus stop, and it is now on 29th Ave. The new stop is a quarter mile away from the quad.

C-Tran received tons of letters from students, staff, faculty and community members last May, pleading with them to not go through with these changes. At the hearing, students and faculty of WSU Vancouver gave testimonies explaining why removing the stop is a horrible idea. There were many people who wanted to keep discussing alternative options to this change, but the board decided to hold the vote instead.

My daily bus commute takes an hour and a half, though I only live 15 minutes away from campus by car. The nearest stop is a mile from my house, an annoying walk with a bag that is at least 30 lbs. In all, this gives me two miles of walking, plus lugging that heavy bag around campus all day. Now I get to add another half mile to my trek with this heavy bag, thanks to C-Tran.

I know people who have learned to drive in their mid-twenties and gotten cars because they do not want to spend multiple hours a day on the bus. Unfortunately that is not an option for everyone, myself included. As someone with mobility issues that fall under the “invisible illness” category, I am not what C-Tran considers “disabled enough” to use C-Van. The additional walking that this move has added makes my ability to get to campus and function throughout the day much harder.

In the time I have been at WSU Vancouver, I have seen many disabled students on the bus. C-Tran claims that the disabled can use their C-Van, but they do not take into account that not everyone is “disabled enough” for C-Van. For a disabled person to qualify for C-Van, they have to be unable to take a regular bus on their own. Some people are even required to complete an in person evaluation of their disabled status in order to determine if they are disabled enough to qualify for the C-Van service.

Therefore, if C-Tran does not think a student is disabled enough for C-Van, regardless of their capability of getting to campus from the new stop, they will still have to put their safety on the line in order to get an education. That is how much C-Tran cares about the Vancouver community.

Bus 19 has a completely ridiculous schedule as it is, making me 30 minutes early or 15 minutes late for everything, since C-Tran will not make their bus schedule sync with our classes. Now the schedule will make things even more difficult, because students will have to factor in their long walk from the bus stop. C-Tran says they will be increasing frequency to every 30 minutes eventually, but they have only recently begun figuring out that new schedule. They made the choice to move the stop months ago, but seem to have waited until the very last second to alter the schedule.

The buses also regularly arrive at campus a few minutes early, and instead of waiting to leave until their scheduled time like they are supposed to do, they leave right away. I have missed the bus because it came five minutes early countless times, and frequently see others miss it for the same reason. With the stop relocation, we cannot just duck back into a building to get away from the bone chilling rain.

The path that students will have to take to get to and from the stop is isolated and poorly lit. The street that the stop is on is even more badly lit, and the area around the stop is almost completely dark. This could potentially increase sexual harassment of students. While drivers can get security to escort them to their cars at night, I doubt they will be able to escort every student who feels unsafe to the bus stop; if they do, I know I will be grateful.

C-Tran claims that they are moving the stop so they can better serve the local medical clinics in the Salmon Creek area. Christine Selk, the communication and public affairs manager at C-Tran, said that the reason we could not keep our stop on campus was because it “would have increased travel time to campus by… 10 minutes.” Selk said that this increase in travel time was inconvenient and would harm ridership. Moving this stop is what is going to hurt ridership. I would gladly spend an extra 10 minutes on the bus if it meant I did not have to walk a quarter mile to get to class.

I have seen many people claim this change is good for campus because we will now have weekend service. With the old route we had to walk from Legacy to get to school on the weekends, but that walk is not much longer than what we are now forced to take.

Every year I have seen C-Tran cut service to their routes. They usually claim they cannot afford to keep the route operating as it is, yet they can come up with the money to buy flashy new busses every year. They have somehow come up with the money for their Vine project on Fourth Plain, along with hideous and expensive new shelters, but they cannot continue stopping at WSU Vancouver. It seems to me that C-Tran cares about looking pretty, not about providing decent service. Personally, I would prefer old busses if it meant I could get to school in a reasonable amount of time.

There does not seem to be anything we can do to change C-Tran’s mind. The flurry of emails begging them not to alter the route did not work, nor did the testimony at the meeting last May. I will be watching to see if any opportunity comes up that has the potential to change this; I hope you will too.

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