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Page 28 text:
Capitol It Wort No more yellow dogs for this university! Capitol Metro ' s high-tech buses in 1989 replaced the older Laidlaw school buses, causing mixed emotions on campus. Fall 1989 began the contract signed between the Uni- versity and Capitol Metro for shuttle bus services. The mass-transit buses were larger, air-conditioned and be- lieved to be more effective people-movers, badly needed for the growing number of students who required the shuttle services. However, the new service had disadvantages as well. The University signed a five-year contract and paid Cap- ital Metro $3.2 million a year or $32.84 per student in student services fees. Many students protested the fees since Capital Metro waived city bus fares through 1990, making UT students the only Austin residents paying for bus service. Students sought City Council support and attended meetings with Capital Metro in an effort to have the money refunded. Their efforts to get a full or partial refund from Capitol Metro continued into the spring semester. While the UT Shuttle Bus Committee claimed that Metro ' s free rid- ership program left students footing the bill for the entire transit system, Metro claimed that students were paying for all-student routes such as West Campus and 40-Acres. As for the quality of the Metro service, student reactions were mixed. RUSH HOUR: The noon crowd gathers to board the West Campus bus in front of the PCL. This was a peak time for the shuttles as some students went home to lunch and others arrived for their first classes. 24 Shuttle Buses
Page 27 text:
Deep in the Heart of The observatory planned to build a new telescope on the mountain in conjuction with Pennsylvania State University. The Spectroscopic Survey Tele- scope would combine 85 smaller mirrors to produce a total mirror diameter of ten meters, becoming one of the three largest telescopes in the world. It was designed specifically for spectroscopy, the science of analyzing light spectra. Optical astronomy was not the only area of interest at the observatory. " [McDonald] includes much more than that mountain in West Texas, " Frank Bash, new director of the Observatory and professor of astronomy, said. A millimeter wave telescope used to measure radio radiation not visible to the human eye and laser ranging equipment used to measure the distance to the moon to within inches were also included on the mountain. In partnership with the California Institute of Technology, University radio astronomers also op- erated a radio telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. They previously had access to the two-mile radio telescope 40 miles south of Mount Locke in Marfa until it was dismantled later in the year. The astronomers ' work consisted of more than simply gazing though telescopes. Teaching played an important role in the Department of Astronomy, which served more than 6,000 students a year. Bash estimated that he had taught astronomy, mainly freshman level, to between 5,000 and 10,000 stu- dents since his arrival at the University in 1967. The observatory also was accessable to the public, hosting about 100,000 visitors a year. With the ex- ception of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year ' s Day, the W.L. Moody Visitors ' Information Center conducted tours every day of the year. In addition, the observatory hosted regular solar viewings and star parties. The only event at the observatory for which ad- mission was charged was the monthly public veiwing night at the 107-inch telescope. McDonald was the only observatory in the world to open its largest telescope to the public. The astronomers on Mount Locke contemplated such things as the age and size of the universe, and they relished the prospect of public interest in their work. Bash summed up the attitude best. " It ' s easy to be a good astronomy teacher, because all of us are very evangelistic about astronomy. We all love it, and we all want to convey our love of it to other people, " Bash said. NIGHTLIGHT: The streak of a flashlight illuminates the path to the 82-inch and 107-inch telescopes. FIELDING QUESTIONS: A solar viewing open to the public is conducted at the observatory by Robert Scheppler, program coordinator. McDonald Observatory 23
Page 29 text:
' --Metro ' s udla school etro: Is the Wait? The new busses came equipped with stop indicator cords and air-conditioning, and they had an increased rider capacity compared to the older models, allowing for more passengers to be accommodated comfortably. Although most students claimed that there was less seating room than in the Laidlaw busses, there was more room to stand. " Sure the buses are larger, but they ' re still overcrowd- ed; they need to provide more busses, " Christine Gerheart, computer science sophomore, said. Regardless of the day of the week, bus aisles were usually jammed full of people. One had to be quick to grab a seat. Students often filled the bus stairwell past capacity so that the doors literally seemed to be close to bursting. Gene Souza, a West Campus bus driver, said that on one par- ticular day his bus was so overloaded with students that one girl was injured when she fell out of the rear side door. The accident was not serious, but Souza was quite con- cerned about the safety of his riders. By spring, the controversy still had not been resolved. And as the financial disputes threatened to linger well into summer and even the next fall, once again the students were left waiting on Capitol Metro. story and photos by Carrie Dawson RED LIGHT: Waiting for the light to change, bus driver Gene Souza talks with weary West Campus riders. Shuttle Buses 25
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