Students voice thoughts on campus transportation service

Jada Thomas, Staff Writer

The ‘Runner is a free shuttle service provided by UTSA that transports students to and from several stops in the vicinity of the university directly to campus. This includes student apartments, Resident Lot 5, Brackenridge lots 3, 4 and 5 as well as the East Campus and Barshop lots. Students are picked up and dropped off on campus at bus stops located outside the North Paseo Building and the Science and Engineering Building. 

Students utilize The ‘Runner for several reasons, but the primary rationale, as expressed by senior Jessica Romero, is the system’s convenience. 

“Well for one, I don’t have the permit because it costs a lot of money and I don’t want to pay that,” Romero said. “So it literally gets me to school every day and back home.”

A similar sentiment is also shared by Clay Haverland, assistant vice president for Campus Services, who discussed the ease of using The ‘Runner buses.

“​​Riding The ‘Runner is an easy and convenient transportation option,” Haverland said. “Students who take The ‘Runner to campus spend less time looking for parking and walking to class. By leaving their vehicle at home, they also save wear and tear on their vehicle.”

Another reason students rely on The ‘Runner is because of safety. Students who park in one of the lots farther from campus, such as the East Campus Lots or Brackenridge Lot 5, find themselves depending on The ‘Runner to get from the main part of campus back to their cars rather than having to walk — especially if they are on campus late into the night. 

“I normally do take it [The ‘Runner] on Mondays and Wednesdays because it’s getting dark earlier and I don’t get out of here till like 7:45, and I don’t want to walk in the dark,” junior Melody Oropeza said. 

However, despite the ease several students have experienced with The ‘Runner, there are still some issues students have found with the bus system. For instance, when routes are combined, a significant amount of time is added onto the bus trips. Senior Maggie Flynn discusses this in more detail.

“I also just think that the routes take really long, especially when they combine them, that takes even longer,” Flynn said. “I feel like these shuttle trips should be like five to 10 minutes, but when you combine them it’s like a 20-minute ride.” 

Haverland describes the reasoning behind the combination of various bus routes, citing examples such as the number of passengers and traffic patterns.

“Route combinations are based on passenger counts and traffic patterns,” Haverland said. “We combine routes during times of very low ridership, such as early morning and late evening, to ensure minimal impact to passengers and route frequency. By doing this, we help ensure our operations remain sustainable and efficient.”

Another key issue students have regarding The ‘Runner is the functionality of its app. UTSA The ‘Runner is an app that tells students what routes are available, where buses are along their routes and approximately what time the bus will be arriving at a given stop. 

When discussing issues with the bus system, graduate student Jinjin Leu’s only problem was with the app.

“The only thing is sometimes the app is weird,” Leu said. 

On the app, there is a tab labeled “Provide App Feedback” where users can provide insight and suggestions to improve performance. Haverland discussed where this feedback goes, as well as the recommended way for providing suggestions regarding the app. 

“‘Provide App Feedback,’ found in the ‘About’ section of the app, is intended for feedback on the app’s performance and programming so these emails go directly to the app provider, a third-party company,” Haverland said. “To share feedback or suggestions regarding The ‘Runner, contact Campus Services … we welcome and value Roadrunners’ feedback for ways we can improve the app, and we carefully review and consider all suggestions received.”

For issues and suggestions regarding The ‘Runner shuttle system, contact Campus Services at [email protected] or (210) 458-7275.