Students express transportation issues

SE student Salma Saleh getting into a van that is part of the Via Arlington transportation system at SE Campus. Joel Solis/The Collegian
SE student Salma Saleh getting into a van that is part of the Via Arlington transportation system at SE Campus.
Joel Solis/The Collegian

campus editor

Via Transport, a service that SE Campus has been offering from February 2020, has received mixed reactions from the student population.

Some claim that it has been anything but pleasant. Others just see it as a blessing. 

SE student Sev Lohse said he has expressed frustration with the system.

Lohse started attending SE in fall 2021 and has been using Via ever since he started. He explained his experience with it from the beginning and compared it to what it is now.

“The wait times have definitely become a lot longer. It used to be about 10 or 15 minutes. Now you’re looking at upwards of an hour,” he said. “So you have to schedule super in advance.”

Lohse expressed his discomfort with the wait and scheduling times with having early classes. He believes TCC and Via were not prepared for more people to use the service.

“It’s one of the worst things that’s happened,” he said. “More people have heard about it so more people are using it, but they haven’t adjusted to the change at all.”

Lohse also expressed discomfort toward the way drivers pick up riders.

“Sometimes it’s dangerous. The stops it picks seem completely random,” he said. “I was in the car when someone was getting picked up. She was stuck next to a transmission tower. There was a drop-off into the dirt and she was standing there. So the car had to go off road in the steep decline just to get to her.”

In response, the city of Arlington’s media inquiry communication coordinator Susan Schrock explained how the wait times were averaged.

“On average it takes 12-15 minutes,” she said. “It gives a good idea of how far or close the van is. The wait times vary if the vehicle is nearby and how much demand is in the system. Especially if it’s between rush times, it’s a popular service.”

She also explained how the curb-to-curb service worked.

“If they [riders] require it, they have the ability to request a curb – to – curb service on the accessibility tab at,” she said. “Via is not intended to be a door-to-door service and riders should expect to be picked up a block or two from where they are.”

Schrock said that if any of the students had any comments they should feel free to reach out for any feedback.

SE student Alexander Samuel expressed similar feelings toward Via as the wait times have also caused problems for him, but he also expressed gratitude toward it.

Overall, my experience is mixed, although it’s slightly positive given the fact that it is an affordable way for me to commute from my home in north Arlington without a car,” he said.

He said he doesn’t like how unreliable the service can be, especially when he is in a rush.

“With long wait times, multiple pick ups and drop offs and limited availability during rush hour, so many seats are booked to the point where you pretty much have to try again in 30 minutes or even an hour,” he said.

On the other hand, student Essi Kamasa-Quashie, who has been using Via since fall 2021, has noted that Via has been a blessing.

“I’m OK with it because it’s my only means of transportation,” she said. “Via has been really good to me so far because I don’t have to pay anything to do my grocery shopping or pay my bills.”

Lohse said he believes it needs to be looked after more. With the students using it, there is a standard that the school should uphold.

“If this is what we’re going to be using as our public transportation, then it needs to be cared for in the same way public transportation is and in some ways more,” he said.