The city of Thousand Oaks has made changes to its bus routes this year in order to accommodate CLU students.
The city, which has only four bus routes, rerouted part of its ‘green’ route solely for California Lutheran University students.
Ryan Van Ommeren, associate vice president of Facilities, has been speaking to the city about this change and potentially others for some time.
He said this change is important for students.
An additional stop at CLU makes all the difference. Van Ommeren showed how that one stop decreased on travel time for students going anywhere on the route.
“So if you wanted to go to the mall before this stop, it would be an hour and 26 minutes to get to the mall. So who is going to go to the mall if it involves an hour and 15 minute bus ride?” said Van Ommeren.
Van Ommeren and the CLU sustainability committee want to cut back on gas use and improve transportation convenience for students.
He is constantly working with people like transportation analyst Mike Houser with the Thousand Oaks Public Works Department to come up with ways to do that.
With the changes put in place by Houser, “you’ll be able to get to the mall in 15 minutes. You’ll be able to get back from the mall in 15 minutes,” said Van Ommeren.
The changes, however, have not been an improvement for all Thousand Oaks residents, according to Houser.
The extra stop has “added about 20 minutes to the bus ride for people that aren’t CLU students,” said Houser.
Thousand Oaks Transit has seen a huge drop-off in ridership because of this. Houser places the most recent estimate at 60 percent.
Unfortunately, they may not get the ridership needed to keep this change.
Sophomore Dalee Jung does not have a car and lives in the residence halls on campus.
Jung knew the price for the bus, $1.50, and understood how taking the bus could save students money, but outlined why students like her don’t take the bus.
“Taking the bus will save them money, but time is money. So it’s going to take a while to get there and wait for the bus,” said Jung.
Houser has plans to make other changes for the benefit of CLU students in the future, like a Saturday bus route.
But a change like this may not be permanent.
“If CLU students are happy with new transportation they need to be riding the bus, because if ridership doesn’t increase significantly we’ll have to go back to the old green route,” said Houser.
Published Oct. 24, 2012