Students have love-hate for RTA

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By Shardai Perry / Asst. Features Editor

RTA bus stop- RCC students depart from campus using the Riverside transportation system. (Jasmeet Singh / Editor’s Assistant)

By Shardai Perry / Asst. Features Editor

The Riverside Transit Agency has been transporting students for many years, and according to most students has been a great asset but times are changing and so are student views about the buses.

Kimberly Furlong, a student and frequent passenger of RTA, shared an unpleasant experience she had while riding the bus.

“The bus driver was pulling out and not paying attention, he didn’t see the car pulling forward and he had to slam on his breaks to avoid hitting the car. I happened to be standing up and I flew forward falling on the ground,” she said.

“My pants got all dirty and I hurt my leg. The driver didn’t even look back to see if everyone was OK, I was even yelling at him and making comments” said Furlong.

Furlong has been riding the Riverside buses for about eight years, and on the contrary she said the experience is not always that bad.

“Most of the drivers are fairly nice and caring, there are just those few that are always having a bad day,” Furlong said.

 The RTA has been operating bus services since March of 1977.

“With 34 years behind them, they’re bound to make a few mistakes,” Furlong said.

RTA is only one of the many Transportation Service Agency in Riverside.

The company Provides driver training, assistance with grant applications and development of short-range transit plans for their drivers.

“Passengers don’t realize mistakes happen. That’s why we have so many safety objects on the bus. For example hand rails, seat bars, hand loops are there to help ensure your safety,” driver Mona Zaia who has been driving RTA buses for a little over a year said.

According to most passengers, one of the biggest pet peeves of the RTA is their arrival and dispersal times.

“I hate that the buses are too early or too late. It throws off my schedule. I have to catch another bus right after the first one that only comes every hour, so if it’s late or too early it can jeopardize my chances of missing the other bus,” mathematics major Raymond Long said.

Mona argues that the passengers don’t take the time to see the driver’s side of the story, nor take into consideration that the drivers are doing the best they can.

“Our schedules really depend on the time of day. There can be traffic, plus wheel chairs really set us back, having to load and unload them more often than people realize,” Zaia said.

Another thing that sets drivers back according to driver Jason Long, a RTA driver for almost three years, is when the buses are over-crowded

“It sets us back time-wise as far as loading and unloading passengers, but on the bright side I like it when it’s crowded. It reminds me of when I used to drive the Los Angeles buses,” Long said.

Student Tomasita Rodriguez has only been riding the bus for a few years, but she says she’s never really had a problem with the RTA buses.

“I don’t really mind when the buses are crowded, as long as I’m getting where I need to go, I’m okay, ” Rodriguez said.

An all day pass to ride the Riverside bus costs $4 and for a one time entrance it costs $1.50.

“I probably wouldn’t ride the bus if I didn’t get on free with my student identification”, Rodriguez said. “I would just ride my bike to school.”

One positive aspect about the Riverside buses that most students can agree on is the fact that RCC students can ride free with their student IDs .

Many use RTA as an alternative means for transportation because it is cheaper than having to pay for gas for their own cars, not to mention not paying for parking.

“I actually do drive, but with the parking issues and gas, the buses help save me a lot of time and money,” student Sonia Ndukwe said.

Ndukwe also mentions that when the buses are late its just like being stuck in traffic.

She defends them saying, “They can’t help it.”

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