MoveSM Recommends: Build a Better Bus System
Updated: May 13, 2020
The City of San Marcos and Texas State University are currently working on creating a 5-Year Transit Master Plan for a combined bus system that would provide better service to the entire community, students and non-students alike. On January 28th, the first draft of the proposed combined system was unveiled (pictured below) - and unfortunately, it looked more like a copy / paste of the current system than a new concept for a truly integrated bus network.
As shown in the map above, the maroon "university" routes remain very separate from the "city" routes, acting still as door-to-door shuttle service from apartments to campus. And to make matters worse, service on "city" lines is downgraded on almost all lines, moving from today's typical 30-minute frequencies to frankly unacceptable 60-minute frequencies.
Highlights of the proposal included moves to extend service windows to include weekends (versus just weekdays with existing city bus service), investigation of reduced or free fares, and a more visible downtown transfer station. However, the draft proposal overall was met with extreme disappointment in its inability to imagine a integrated bus system that puts students and citizens on shared routes with better service and access for everyone. And with less convenient service, goals included in the San Marcos 2019 Transportation Master Plan for reduced Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) per capita and mode shift towards more sustainable transit options like public buses will surely never be met.
So, to help redirect this effort in a more positive direction, MoveSM submitted feedback to the transit planning team that included ideas for how to create a more integrated system that delivers high frequency service to ALL of the community. These included eliminating overlap on university vs. city routes; reducing wasted route time spent on I-35; and reducing the number of total routes to distribute more buses on less routes for less wait times, to name a few. MoveSM also created an example bus system map and service budget to help demonstrate these ideas, as shown below.
Check out our full MoveSM feedback letter here:
We are hopeful that subsequent draft routes work to create a bus system that could not only draw the university and city communities together, but also provide convenient service that 1) gives people who depend on the bus more freedom and flexibility and 2) gives people a legitimate option for a less car-dependent lifestyle.
If you feel the same and want to get involved, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll plug you in to the conversation!