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EDITORIAL: Targum reimagines Rutgers bus system routes

It is time to bring back bus stops from pre-pandemic times and new Targum-inspired ones as well

What would you suggest if you could personally map out the Rutgers bus routes? – Photo by Hamza Azeem

The Rutgers bus system is a campus staple, largely because it is undeniably imperfect. While The Daily Targum staff agrees that there are some convenient, and even iconic, bus stops, there are several improvements that could be made to the bus routes.

Our favorite bus stops

The SoCam 290 Apartments stop is accessible through the EE bus route, which transports students to the hub of George Street. They can easily walk to the 7-Eleven, Douglass Pizza and Grill and many other restaurants in the surrounding area.

If you live in the SoCam 290 Apartments, the bus drops you off right at your doorstep. 

The Quads stop on Livingston campus is another favorite and can be reached through the LX, B and B-He, even though the stop is not explicitly listed on the TransLoc app (though we will address this concern later).

It saves a heck of a walk for students who live in the Quads and those who want to go to the Livingston Recreation Center, which is especially useful late at night.

The Allison Road Classroom Building stop is a top-rated bus stop that provides relatively easy access to the Rutgers Student Center on Busch campus, the library and nearby classroom buildings.

Similarly, the Biel Road stop on the Cook and Douglass campuses is close to the Cook Apartments, Cook and Douglass Recreation Center, Eagleton Institute on Douglass campus and the Rutgers Student Center on Cook campus, which houses Cook Cafe.

But despite these more favorable stops, there are several changes that could be made to make the Rutgers bus system more efficient.

EE and F bus routes

First, it is important to make the distinction between bus stops that are labeled Northbound (NB) and Southbound (SB). North and South indicate the bus' direction based on what campus it is going from and going toward.

In this case, when we refer to the EE and F bus routes, SB indicates that the bus is coming from the College Avenue campus and traveling toward the Cook and Douglass campuses, and NB signifies the reverse.

When it comes to the EE bus route, we suggest adding three new stops: New Brunswick Station (previously included before the pandemic), College Hall on Douglass campus SB (previously known as the Cooper Dining Hall stop) and the Zimmerli Art Museum.

Adding stops at New Brunswick Station and Zimmerli Art Museum would better connect students with the community around them, giving them easy access to travel as well as artwork that they may not have otherwise.

The College Hall SB stop on Douglass campus would change the EE bus route to make more sense directionally. Instead of reaching the Cook and Douglass campuses via Route 18, the bus would drive through downtown New Brunswick.

As a general overview, the new EE bus route would cycle through its normal stops on the College Avenue, Cook and Douglass campuses but include our new additions. The new route would be the Rutgers Student Activities Center, Rutgers Student Center, the Yard @ College Avenue, New Brunswick Station, SoCam 290 Apartments SB, College Hall SB, Red Oak Lane, Lipman Hall, Biel Road, Henderson, Gibbons, College Hall on NB, SoCam 290 Apartments NB and the Zimmerli Art Museum.

This is a lot to take in, but buckle up because there is still more to cover.

Now, the F bus is essentially supposed to be an express version of the EE bus route to the Cook and Douglass campuses, but we do have some additions we would like to suggest.

For the F bus, we would add five new stops: the Rutgers Student Center, College Hall SB, Biel Road, Henderson and Gibbons to better serve the College Avenue, Cook and Douglass campus students.

The new F bus route essentially would start on the College Avenue campus with the Rutgers Student Activities Center, the Rutgers Student Center and the Yard before proceeding to the Cook and Douglass campus via Route 18. The Cook and Douglass campuses' bus stops would include College Hall SB, Red Oak Lane, Lipman Hall, Biel Road, Henderson and Gibbons.

This would essentially remove the College Hall NB stop and would allow the F bus to enter Route 18 via the George Street entrance after the Gibbons stop to improve the ease of transportation while remaining quicker than the EE.

Additionally, we propose that the F bus should run until at least 11 p.m. so that students have more options to get home at night instead of being left stranded.

A, H, REXL and REXB bus routes

Now, these suggestions are a little less complicated. Both the A and H bus routes should simply remove the Stadium West Lot stop on Busch campus during the day when the C bus is in operation.

The REXB bus route should utilize the new Targum-inspired College Hall SB stop at the beginning of its journey through Cook and Douglass campuses as well as stop at the Rutgers Student Center on Busch campus to help more students get to these high-demand places on campus.

Similarly, the REXL should also include College Hall SB stop as well as the Quads stop on Livingston campus so that students have better access to their residence halls and the Livingston Recreation Center. The LX, B and B-He already stop at the Quads, and it is important that students coming from the Cook and Douglass campuses also have that option.

Both the REXL and REXB should run until the last of the other buses operate, typically around 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., depending on the day, so that students are, again, not stranded at night when trying to get home.

General suggestions

When it comes to TransLoc, the Quads stop should be explicitly listed on the app, even though it is not for any of the bus routes on Livingston campus.

Additionally, TransLoc should show if buses are out of service or if the bus drivers are taking a break which could be indicated by the bus drivers through the app. Perhaps, the buses on break could be a different color than those in service for each route.

This is important so that students do not wait around for a bus that is out of service, or if they are particularly in a rush, they will not get on a bus when the bus driver is taking a break.

It would also be beneficial if there was transportation to buildings that go beyond typical campus boundaries. For example, on Livingston campus, the "Physical Plant" and "Facilities Maintenance" are particularly far distances to walk.

And on Cook campus, there should be transportation to the "Helyar House," a residence hall that is quite a far walk from the nearest bus stop (Lipman). Even transportation to Rutgers Gardens would be ideal so that students can have access to campus facilities that would be out of reach or a very far, and even dangerous, trek.

On top of this, backup transportation should be arranged when buses break down, so students do not have to walk from an unsafe area, such as walking from the highway. 

There are a lot of alterations suggested in this editorial, but ultimately, these would be our new and improved Rutgers bus routes in an ideal world — perhaps some will be implemented one day, but one can only dream.

The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 155th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.

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