Univ. temporarily reinstates bus stop at Pine Brook Apartments
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
The university parking and transportation services last Monday reinstated its bus stop at Pine Brook Apartments for the rest of the spring semester due to complaints by students. The bus halted service to the complex last semester because the owners of the property refused to pay the university for the stop, according to Director of Parking and Transportation Services Richard Rind.
Two years ago, university officials decided to charge transportation service fees to off-campus apartment complexes that house students. Rind said most property owners agreed to pay the new fee, but the directors of Pine Brook Apartments refused to pay because they do not want the apartments perceived as a student complex.
Pine Brook Apartments was taken out of the route after Dec. 21, Rind said, but when students complained about the lack of service at the beginning of the semester, transportation department officials temporarily reinstated the stop.
“I feel bad that students were caught in the middle of the talks between us and Pine Brook Apartments, and my advice to them is that if they really value the use of our buses, then they should move, and go live somewhere else,” Rind said. “This is our new policy and it’s what we’re going to have to do going forward.”
The change forced many students left without a ride to find different ways to campus.
Graduate student Whitney Wiest has been a resident of Pine Brook Apartments since September 2008 and said she used to be a frequent rider on the university bus. Pine Brook officials informed residents of the potential changes to the bus route before this past winter by slipping notes under apartment doors asking tenants if changes to the university bus route would affect them, she said.
The buses were useful to Wiest because she said she often goes to South Campus. The complex should have been more open about the changes and why they occurred, she said.
“I didn’t know at first that the change was because there was a fee to use the bus,” Wiest said. “I just thought, ‘Oh, it’s great that they come here.’”
Part of the problem for students living in the apartments is they represent a portion of the total residents, Rind said. Officials within the department were clear with the complex administrators that if the fee was not paid, then the bus service would eventually be cut off, he said.
Junior major Lu Xu said she lives in the complex and used the university buses every day. After the university stopped service, she said she felt she had no other choice but to buy a car to handle the extra distance and time it takes her to get to class.
The car is an inconvenience to have and she did not plan on payments like gas and oil, Xu said. Now that the university has reinstated the stop, Xu, who graduates in May, has little need for her car.
“The apartment people didn’t pay the fee, but we live here and we’re university students,” Xu said. “They need to give us buses so we can live and work on campus.”