The Wichitan

Student government approves weekend shuttle service

Serah Welborn

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Adanna Oparaji, nursing sophomore, and Naydia Antoin, nursing senior, enter the campus shuttle near on the Killingsworth Hall stop on March 25. “That would be awesome! Working out would be so much easier. I wouldn’t have to ask my roommate for rides anymore,” said Oparaji on the weekend route. Photo by Francisco Martinez

With a unanimous vote, the Student Government Association approved the Mustangs Entertainment Shopping & Attractions route, or MESA, at its March 3 meeting. The bus route will serve as a weekend extension of the traditional Mustangs Shuttle with a trial run starting April 10.

“I was really excited when [the bill] got passed because it’s going to help students,” Jaylon Williams, nursing freshman and Freshman Senator, said. “This is something that’ll be in effect for probably a long time until somebody else comes along and improves it even further, because there’s always room for improvement.”

According to Marco Torres, psychology senior and Campus Culture Committee chairman, MESA is the result of Williams’ hard work and best reflects the interests of the students who will use it. The extended route is, however, up for improvement or termination depending upon their response in the coming weeks.

Map of the new bus route and the 21 stops.

Map of the new bus route and the 21 stops.

“This is just a trial run. If we need to stay out later [or] if we need to extend it earlier on, we can make that happen,” Torres said. “It all depends on what the students want and how they want to utilize this route, and if they are actually going to utilize it. This trial run is everything right now.”

Throughout the 26 stops, students will have access to more than 30 establishments previously unavailable, such as the French Quarter Apartments, Stage West Dance Club, Chik-fil-A and Target. The shuttle will complete the 7.4-mile route in 30-minute intervals between 4 p.m. and midnight Fridays, and from 5 p.m. to midnight Saturdays. The schedule and route were determined according to the desires expressed by students and what was negotiated with the city of Wichita Falls. Williams said she hopes her constituents will now follow through with their requests.

“We have the records of everyone’s comments that this is ‘really needed,’ ‘fantastic.’ That’s nice to say, but now that it’s really here, what are you going to do about it?” she asked. “I’m hoping to see frequent use and gratitude. It doesn’t have to be verbal, just the physical gratitude of them using the bus is good enough for me. Just knowing that they’re using it and that they’re getting to where they need to be, getting groceries, having fun—it’s a fun bus route.”

Though MESA benefits students in ways as never before, Torres said its strict evening schedule limits shopping and entertainment excursions—possibly to the point of discontent. He emphasized that changes could be made in the future based upon research his committee will conduct at the end of the semester.

“We’ll ask what is lacking, what needs improvement, and who actually utilized it,” Torres said. “One of the things that I will not advocate is having this thing run and nobody utilizing it. That funding could go somewhere else…Right now it’s up to the students.”

Participation will be documented by the MESA drivers through the scanning of university identification cards. This information will be used to determine the success of the program, and for this reason Torres encourages students to experiment with it whenever possible.

“My committee put in the hard work for the students. Now, once this starts running and we advertise it, it’s up to the students to do this because we tried to get what they want,” he said. “If it doesn’t get utilized, then we’re going to stop it or cut back on it, because that’s money that’s being wasted.”

 

ASF info: Opens Friday, April 10. 21 stops. Runs Friday, 4 p.m. to midnight and Saturday, 5 p.m. to midnight.

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About the Photographer
Francisco Martinez, Photo Editor

Francisco Martinez is a photographer for The Wichitan. Francisco is in his fourth year majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. He was...

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Student government approves weekend shuttle service