Florida A&M students can look forward to new routes for the Venom Express this semester.
The new route includes stops at locations such as Seminole Grand, University Commons and the Park at Midtown.
“Our goal and No. 1 priority is to get students to and from FAMU as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Brian Waterman, StarMetro transit planning manager.
Waterman said the route was finalized mid-spring to meet ridership demands. He also said two listening sessions were held to inform students about the changes in July.
The old route included two buses in 20-minute intervals. The 46/Venom Express 1 remained in an on-campus circulation and the 47/Venom Express 2 catered to students residing off-campus on the south side of Tallahassee.
The new route continues to use two buses, Venom North and Venom South. Both buses will operate every 30 minutes between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Waterman said the two-hour break, from noon to 2 p.m., was eliminated. Some stops along the route were also cut to get students to and from campus faster.
The evening schedule will continue to use one bus, operating every 60 minutes between 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Daniel Wheat, a junior computer engineering student who lives in College Club apartments, said the route change made attending school easier.
“It has made it more convenient for me to get to and from class in a timely manner,” he said.
According to a board of trustees action item available online, StarMetro and FAMU staffs have agreed to meet quarterly to discuss the effectiveness of the agreement. In the event that data shows there has been a change in ridership, an adjustment will be made in the services.
These services are funded from the student transportation and access fee, which is part of tuition. Students are assessed $65 for the fall and spring semesters and $33 for the summer semester.
The U-Pass Program, which allows FAMU students to utilize StarMetro bus transportation with their FAMU identification cards, will continue to be in effect.
While some students agree with the new route changes, others are still having difficulty adjusting.
“There isn’t a stop in Palmetto South like there used to be,” said Khambrel Stephens, a second-year pre-pharmacy student from Miami. “They should revert back to the schedule they had last year with one bus that goes off-campus and one that stays on a campus circulation.”
Coach Operator John Gregory said he has seen a decrease in ridership.
“When you make changes, you’re going to satisfy some and displease others,” he said. “Numbers may be down due to the lack of knowledge of how to catch the bus.”