Texas State University has announced that it will eliminate its Interurban Shuttle service beginning this fall.
Every week, hundreds of students who live in San Antonio and Austin use the shuttle service to get to the San Marcos campus. Beginning Aug. 24, they'll have to find a new way to make the nearly 50-mile journey to school.
“It’s a lifeline,” said Daniel Palomo. “For a lot of people, it makes living in San Antonio and going to Texas State doable.”
University officials said after months of study and cost-benefit analysis, it did not make financial sense to keep the service running.
The interurban service only constitutes 4 percent of the university’s entire ridership. Money generated from fares only covered about 46 percent of the service’s annual $1.1 million operations cost.
The university was able to purchase the buses using grant money, which was awarded on the condition that the general public could use the service.
Nancy Nusbaum, interim director of the school’s Transportation Department, said scaling back the service instead of eliminating altogether was not feasible.
“You can't really, I think, limit the amount of service you provide when you're in public transit,” she said. “We could have eliminated San Antonio service and kept Austin because the San Antonio ridership is significantly less than Austin.”
The university is urging students to take advantage of their carpool system, but riders said coordinating trips will be difficult.
“You’re relying on five (or) six other people. You’re relying on their schedule and nobody's class schedule is the same,” said Andrew Heinrich.
School officials said the move will increase the number of cars coming into the San Marcos campus, but the university has a parking lot with more than 900 empty spaces just waiting to be filled.
University officials also said the move will likely keep students in San Antonio from picking Texas State.
Passengers who utilize the service said they just want to find a way to get to class.
“There’s not really a chance of me getting into UTSA or a San Antonio school in the fall without having to miss a semester of school,” said Palomo.