“Maiden voyage” of new MavMover route and schedule, Aug. 7. Left to right: Teju Hari, GSS senator (Electrical Engineering), Jenny Blankenship, past GSS Executive Board senator (SUPA); Clyde Sifore, Public Safety Officer/driver (UTA-PD), Frederick Lopez, senator (SUPA). Not pictured: Andy Meckfessel, senator and map-maker (SUPA).
The following was provided by Jenny Blankenship
The UT Arlington shuttle service introduced a new route and schedule Aug. 7 to improve service for students stranded on campus while reducing wasted fuel and lost time associated with increasing traffic jams. The changes resulted from a three month investigation by a team including School of Urban and Public Affairs graduate senators and was facilitated by the administration’s willingness to meet student needs.
The Mav Mover formerly transported students to one major retailer Saturday mornings and to the Parks Mall Saturday afternoons. The limited locations and times were directly related to increasing traffic jams. Students complained especially international students who came to campus without vehicles.
Teju Hari, an electrical engineering graduate student senator, brought constituent concerns to the attention of the Graduate Student Senate on Sept. 16, 2009 after several students were left stranded at a retailer because of the split schedule. Timothy Caldwell, GSS President, approved the formation of a Shuttle Service Committee chaired by Jenny Blankenship of the GSS Executive Board. She sought assistance from Professor Jianling Li, who encouraged transportation class members to help. Frederick Lopez and Andrew Meckfessel came forward and joined the committee. Blankenship wrote GSS Resolution 09-06 that passed Nov. 4, 2009.
The group met weekly over a three-month period and evaluated the shuttle route for speed, efficiency and student-friendliness. Mav Mover patrons were surveyed and 10 ghost riders evaluated Mav Mover benefits and drawbacks from a student-user perspective. Hari developed a matrix offering greater variety, flexibility and opportunities for campus-stranded students to shop and meet personal needs. Increased entertainment and restaurant options, including ethnic and vegetarian service, as well as retailers from low-dollar, mid-range and high-dollar ranges were sought. A variety of banks, tax services, dentists, eye care providers, dry cleaning services, personal grooming, and broader grocery shopping options were woven together to meet the matrix of student needs.
Lopez determined that shifting away from single retail stops toward commercial cluster stops could meet the needs Hari described. Lopez developed a matrix of viable shuttle stop options within a few-mile-radius of the campus. A reasonable shuttle bus route, taking vehicle size, weight and classification, as well as road conditions and traffic flow into consideration was created. Avoiding wasted gasoline and time in major traffic delays remained a key goal. Test-drives established proposed schedule routes and times.
Meckfessel applied his architectural and planning experience to create user-friendly maps for proposed shuttle routes. Maps serve important communication functions for international students exploring shuttle services. Meckfessel’s maps haven’t been incorporated into the shuttle web site yet but remain easily adjustable to keep pace with changes to the route maps.
Numerous communication problems concerning ease of access to the shuttle schedule were identified in addition to the map problems. Students complained that typing “bus,” “shuttle,” or “transportation” in the UT Arlington Web site home page search box didn’t link the inquirer to the shuttle schedule. Requests for a shuttle link on the home page was declined by Jerry Lewis, vice president of communications, but he ensured the search words became effective.
Individuals spend $10 to $20 to reach any one of the three stops by taxi. The Mav Mover costs $2 per rider. The new route, effective Aug. 7, 2010, represents a slightly modified version of the GSS proposed route. It effectively and efficiently brings students within a half-mile walking distance of these and other Arlington businesses:
General: 4-Corner Frame Shop, Aldi’s Food Market, Antique Mall, Baby’s R’Us, Bank of America, Blockbuster, Book Rack, Budget Rent-A-Car, Computer Outlet, Dollar General, Chase Bank, CVS Pharmacy, dry cleaners, Fallas Factory Outlet Store, Game Stop, Gene Allen Gift Shop, Target Superstore, Tom Thumb, Wells Fargo and more.
Eateries: Blackeyed Pea, Blue Danube Restaurant, Burger Box, Chili’s, Ci Ci’s Pizza, Classic Burger & Shakes, Corner Baker, El Chico Restaurant, Jade Café, Mijo’s, Old Town Hamburger, Papa John’s, Patty’s Pantry, Pure Bliss, Quiznos, Red Oven, Schlotzsky’s Deli, Sonic, Starbucks, YoBerg Frozen Yogurt and more.
Personal Care: Hefler’s Hairport, Katie’s, Mary’s Barber Shop, Nail Center, Pro Cuts, Queen Nails, Sports Clips, and many more.
Parks Mall: Major department stores, Arcades, Dentists and Optometrists, Electronics, Food Court, Ice-skating, Jewelers, Movie theatres, Photographers, and many Specialty shops.
The shuttle service spreads UTA’s economic impact more evenly across the city and effectively employs limited public transit in an anti-transit city.
Graduate Student Senate