Bus system leaves students searching for transportation

Florida A&M students said they miss seeing the orange and green bus cruising down Adams Street everyday to carry them to campus.

The StarMetro bus, Venom II, does not operate during the summer semesters, leaving Rattlers to find different ways to get to school.

“I’m highly upset because I was counting on the quick commute these days,” said Eula Davis, 20, second year elementary education student from Miami.

However, no Venom running is not an accident, FAMU has made an agreement to not run the Venom II during the summer according to Star Metro Transit planning administrator, Brian Waterman.

“The Venom II does not run during the Summer months due to the lower number of riders during this time,” said Calvin Ross, chief of police at Florida A&M police department.

The cost of operating the Venom II bus outweighs its usage. In the summer, most of the on campus route for Venom II is covered by Venom I and the College of Engineering bus. Star Metro bus #5 covers the same south Adams Street route as Venom II.

Therefore, there is very little loss in coverage, according to Ross.

“For the past two years, FAMU has requested the buses not to run in the summer because it is not as many students on campus during the summer,” Waterman said.

Nevertheless, students who are taking summer classes are angry that the Venom II is not running. Most students take the StarMetro No.5 bus to campus or ask their friends for rides.

“I occasionally take the five, but most of the time I ride with my buddy, who is also my roommate,” said Davis, who lives in College Club Student Townhomes on Adams. “It’s easier to get rides from friends because it requires less walking and waiting.”

Davis said the five bus is not efficient because it comes every hour and if you miss the bus, you will have to wait another hour.

“It affects my schedule because I sometimes have to wake up way too early to catch it for my morning classes, and then when I get out of class, it takes forever to come,” Davis said.

Senior biology student, Cindy Telfort, 22, from Miami has been taking the bus since the spring semester because of car malfunctions. Telfort takes the city bus to campus, which also conflicts with her schedule.

“I have to wake up earlier to get on the bus and get to class,” said Telfort, who is also a resident of College Club. “My class ends when the bus passes, so I have to wait an hour later to get on the bus.”

Venom II and two other StarMetro buses cater to the campus: Venom Express I, which runs every 20 minutes around campus and Venom III, which varies students from the main campus to the engineering school. Each bus comes every thirty minutes. The No.5 bus comes every 40 minutes to an hour.

Waterman said Star Metro is willing to change the routing service to allow the Venom II during the summer if FAMU requests it.

During the fall and spring semesters, there is a greater demand for service therefore all routes utilizing both Venom buses will be in full operation, according to Ross.

The Venom II will be back in service for the upcoming fall and spring semesters of 2010-2011.

Ross said operating additional buses on campus in the future will be costly because of fuel adjustment costs.

“We are however, studying alternative means to providing adequate transportation during high volume demand hours and cutting back when the demand drops,” Ross said. “This may help to leverage the cost.”