Off-campus residents left behind

Some Florida A&M off-campus students will have to find a new way to commute.

The new Venom bus route will face schedule changes, eliminating stops on Colorado and Tharpe streets and Old Bainbridge Road.

A new route was created at the beginning of the semester to accommodate students who live on the north side of town near Florida State University.

The bus is currently scheduled to run every 30 minutes from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The new changes were a result of student complaints to parking services, student affairs, the Student Government Association and a lack of ridership on the northern half of the route.

Brian Walterman, the transit planning manager of StarMetro, said the goal of the new Venom route was to give students more time-efficient options to get to FAMU’s campus.

“We wanted to encourage students to use the Venom so there would be more seats available for residents on the Moss route,” Walterman said. “The ridership for the Venom was down by one-third, and the Moss route was up by one-third.”

Walterman said these numbers were based off ridership from August to September. Student complaints to StarMetro and the bus operators also had an effect on the change.

The new route will run every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and every 30 minutes from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m.

Remaine Pierre, a junior health care management student from Fort Myers, Fla., said the changes being made are fair because students on campus were at a huge disadvantage.

“I do think it’s fair because there were less students riding the bus from the north side of town,” Pierre said. “Riding the M (bus route) is more accurate than a 30-minute shuttle.”

Pierre added that she is happy the new route will be back to normal for the convenience of those who live on campus.

Latoya Jefferson, a senior social work student from Jacksonville, said the new changes being made are only helping those who live on the south side of town near FAMU.

“Due to lack of reliable transportation and accurate timing, I’ve had to live on the south side of town,” Jefferson said. “I have a lot of friends who live on FSU’s side, and my job is over there so I catch the Venom to the north side and get on the city bus from there.”

Jefferson said the university needs to assist students on both sides of town because they all pay tuition and need reliable transportation to get to school and other locations.

New changes to the Venom route will take effect on Monday.