Story written by Esther Bristol
On Nov. 4, Rexburg City Council announced plans for a bus route around BYU-Idaho’s campus that will be up and running by Jan. 2016.
Rexburg Connect, a private company, is initiating the bus route.
Sam Vargas, CEO and founder of Rexburg Connect and a junior studying business management, has been working with the City of Rexburg and BYU-I to find good places for bus stops to be put in.
“The school’s been really helpful with this,” Vargas said. “So the students have access to all portions of the university.”
Vargas said there will be a few stops on each side of the school so the buses will be driving in a circle around the school.
“Based on where you live, we have points throughout all the university that’s going to help students that live on whichever side get to the other side,” Vargas said.
Vargas said the buses will start transporting students around campus at 7 a.m. and will run until 5 p.m. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 6-11 p.m., buses will also transport students to various grocery and entertainment centers in Rexburg.
“It’s going to be two buses dedicated to taking students specifically around Rexburg, to your different Albertson’s, grocery stores, Costa Vida, your restaurants, your Broulim’s, so on and so forth,” Vargas said.
Vargas said he has tried to get a route set up to the new Super Wal-Mart being built, but the store wants to have the city’s involvement also, according to the Rexburg City Council minutes.
Vargas said there will also be routes on the weekends to help students get to Idaho Falls and back.
“The whole thing behind the routes is to put them near larger businesses,” Vargas said. “I wanted to give students easy access, for one, to the place that they used most.”
Vargas said a second reason why he structured the routes the way he did was to convince local businesses to give students discounts for Rexburg connect members and help students save money.
Vargas said right now Rexburg Connect are looking at acquiring buses. He said they will be buying the Super Cuts bus that has been driving around campus.
Rexburg Connect is only offered to BYU-I students at this time, but it is hoped that soon it will be available to Rexburg residents as well, according to the Rexburg City Council minutes.
Vargas said that what he hopes to get out of starting the bus routes is to see students have a way to get around besides walking, particularly in the wintertime.
“I think it’d be really beneficial for everybody if there was a bus system because especially during the winter, I think it will motivate kids to actually come to classes more,” said Kayla Rydalch, a senior studying communication. “And I think it would really help more of the people who maybe sprained their leg or something and had to walk on crutches all day or something.”
Vargas said he thinks this is something a lot of students will use.
“I surveyed probably over 4 or 5,000 students,” Vargas said. “I was blown away to see that a lot of people would (use this service).”
Libby Carr, a sophomore studying math education, said she would not use the bus service mainly because she would be stressed trying to work the bus’s schedule into her own.
“I also wouldn’t use it because campus is not that big,” Carr said. “I would find it not very useful. Plus, how would I get my exercise in for the day?”