An Oklahoma State University student rides his Yamaha V Star 70 miles each Friday to get to his philosophy of film class in Tulsa.
Jesse Gordon, a prelaw philosophy senior, is one of hundreds of OSU students who commutes between the Stillwater and Tulsa campuses. He also takes social philosophy in Tulsa.
Gordon could have taken philosophy classes in Stillwater where he lives, but chose Tulsa because he enjoyed Debbie Walters, the professor.
Gordon prefers riding his bike to taking the Big Orange Bus — also known as the BOB — which is the OSU shuttle that runs between Stillwater and Tulsa.
“It’s like an escape,” he said. “You just zone out and ride. If I want to relax I will take 51. The roads are curvier and it’s just more of a fun ride. Right after Sand Springs, you get off and you cross the Keystone dam, then you go through Manford and Yale.”
Other students enjoy the convenience of using the BOB to commute to classes. Sabrina Hall, an American studies senior, lives in Tulsa but takes the BOB to her Spanish class in Stillwater.
Hall, who commutes five days a week, said she prefers the BOB to driving because of the wear and tear on her car.
The BOB costs $7.50 to for a one-way trip. She paid $320 in October to commute.
“Other than the price, it’s not so bad,” Hall said. “The bus is actually helpful because that’s the two hours I have each day that’s completely dedicated to homework, or even to take a nap.”
Taking the BOB is cheaper than driving because drivers have to pay for tolls and parking, Hall said.
Fuel prices affect the number of BOB riders more than the increase or decrease of the student population, said Jana Benningfield, Shuttle Coordinator in Parking and Transportation Services.
The BOB currently has between 450 and 500 riders, most of them students, said Benningfield. The past two years was between 400 and 425.
The economy also affects the number of riders.
“When people are getting laid off, they are forced to go back to school,” Benningfield said.
About 75 percent of the BOB riders are from Tulsa, Benningfield said. The morning buses leaving Tulsa, as well as the afternoon buses leaving Stillwater, are usually sold out.
If the number of riders continues to increase, it’s possible new schedule times will have to be added.
“We look at the numbers, look at the class schedules and ask ourselves whether these people would be riding if a new time was there,” Benningfield said.
For the fall semester, there are 1,183 students taking classes simultaneously at the Stillwater and Tulsa campuses.
It’s difficult to know how many students commute because local addresses are self-reported, said Christie Hawkins, director of Institutional Research and Information Management at OSU. Out of the 1,183 students, 564 have unknown local addresses.