MESA shuttle usage low on Saturdays

Nik Bolig, political science sophomore waits for the bus. He said the Saturday route would be more successful if they ran the normal route and times along with MESA route. Photo by Morgan Haire.

Nik Bolig, political science sophomore waits for the bus. He said the Saturday route would be more successful if they ran the normal route and times along with MESA route. Photo by Morgan Haire.

Since the trial run of the Mustangs Entertainment Shopping and Attractions Route began April 10, the number of weekend riders has continued to decline. The numbers over the weeks have been important to decide if MESA will continue to run in the fall.

April 20, Matthew Park, dean of students, sent an email with ridership numbers showing about half as many riders on Saturday as Friday.

“We wanted to know why Saturday ridership is so low,” said Marco Torres, psychology senior. “Are we not promoting it right? Are we failing in advertising? Are students just not going out on Saturdays?”

Torres said once he got the MESA ridership data, he shared the results with his committee. Who then decided to ride the bus April 24 and 25 to talk to students in attempt to understand the lower Saturday numbers.

“Students expressed that the route didn’t run well with library hours,” Torres said. “The MESA starts at 5 p.m. on Saturdays and the library is closed then. That leaves some students with no way of getting to the library at 10 a.m. when it opens.”

Finals being two weeks away, it explains Saturday’s low numbers.

“For me to get my required GPA of 3.0 to keep my scholarship, studying for finals is a must,” said Marc Zographos, marketing freshman.

Zographos said studying at the library provides the best environment for him. Since the shuttle only runs when the library closes on Saturday, and doesn’t even stops where he lives, the route doesn’t benefit him at all.

Torres said another concern was the MESA shuttle route does not pass by the Brentwood apartments. Out of the 216 apartments available for rent, 110 of them are students.

“If they would run the bus with the regular hours and route along with the MESA route, it would run a lot smoother and more students would ride it on Saturdays,” said Nik Bolig, political science sophomore. “They have two busses, so I think they could easily do that.”

The MESA route will continue to run for two more weekends, ending its first trial run May 9.

“If the students really want to use it, they will,” Torres said. “And I hope they do.”

Park said in an email, “Upon conclusion of the pilot program this spring, we will be discussing and evaluating the MESA ridership and effectiveness for the fall. While it will be impossible to account for every possible consideration or interest in terms of schedule or route, we can hopefully craft a successful program with our city colleagues to serve our students’ needs.”