I’ve been riding buses for the last three years that I have lived in San Marcos. Whether it be to the Texas State Campus, to the outlet mall, or even to Austin, I’ve relied on multiple buses to get me there. When I first moved here, the apartment complex I lived at did not have a Bobcat TRAM stop near it, so I had to take the CARTS city bus to campus. For those that don’t know, the CARTS bus works like this: there are different routes that run at different frequencies throughout the day, similar to the Bobcat TRAM. The difference is that the rider has to transfer to a different route to get to a certain place. For example, you want to go to campus from Wal-Mart. You hasve to catch the bus at Wal-Mart to go to the station and transfer to another bus which will take you to campus. A little more complicated than the TRAM but no too difficult. The second year I was here I moved to an apartment that had a TRAM stop near it. The TRAM runs a lot more frequently because it only goes to campus. Now, I am back at the apartment complex I lived at my first year here and I am riding the CARTS bus again.
The CARTS bus has its pros and its cons. First, since you do have to take one bus to the station and then get on another bus to campus, the ride can be a bit long which means leaving earlier. The CARTS bus routes have changed recently and now the ride to campus is even longer. Instead of going to campus and back to the station like it used to which only took 30 minutes, the bus now goes from the station to the outlet mall, back to campus and finally back to the station. The route is now an hour long which means it runs less frequently. I now have to leave my apartment even earlier, at least two hours before my class starts. I used to be able to come back to my apartment in between classes, but now since the route is longer I can no longer do that.
That was one of the good things with the TRAM. It runs so frequently that going back to my apartment, even if it was just to eat lunch, was very easy. Another thing with the CARTS bus is it only runs until 6 PM, which means if you have late classes you will probably miss the last run. The TRAM runs much later. Even though the TRAM runs so frequently and late, it is still always packed with people because of the number of students here at Texas State. Sometimes it would get to the point where I would have to wait for the next bus because the one there was full. That’s really inconvenient if you are in a hurry.
Overall, both the CARTS bus and the Bobcat TRAM have their pro’s and cons but they both are a great alternate mode of transportation. Did I mention they’re free to ride?! Well, not exactly free. The fees and included in tuition, but you already paid for it so you might as well use it, right?