Emily Glaser, For The Miami Student

Students walk past a Miami bus, which will take test trips to Wal-Mart. (THOMAS CALDWELL | The Miami Student)

Miami University Parking and Transportation Services has teamed up with the Office of International Education (OIE) to determine the logistics of adding a bus route to Wal-Mart.

“We get a lot of questions from international students as to why there isn’t already a bus route to Wal-Mart and what it would take for there to be one,” said Stephanie Stauber, the international student adviser for OIE.

In collaboration with Parking and Transportation Services, Stauber plans to set up “test routes” to Wal-Mart during this spring to assess the demand.

Vanessa Cummings, assistant director of Parking and Transportation Services, said the testing will allow the university to determine the demand for a Wal-Mart bus route.

“The testing will hopefully help us determine what the need is and when the need is,” Cummings said. “We need to see how many students are riding and what days and times they would like this route to be.”

Fabian Wennemer, an international student from Germany, is in his second year at Miami, and like many international students, does not have a vehicle.

Wennemer said a bus route to Wal-Mart would help students without access to personal transportation. 

“I think it would make sense if at least once a week a bus would run to Wal-Mart,” Wennemer said.

It isn’t just international students who agree with Wennemer. First-year Shannon Coffey does not have a car either. She usually waits to go home to stock up on groceries.

“It’s really inconvenient when I run out of food or when I want to buy stuff for socials or themed parties or extra supplies for class,” Coffey said.

Many of Coffey’s friends, who live out of state, must get their groceries at Market Street at MacCracken, which is overpriced, Coffey said.

Stauber said she is aware of the problem and is doing what she can to promote the need for a bus route to Wal-Mart.

“We’ve done surveys and are doing what we can with our budget here,” she said. “Mostly on behalf of international students, but I think on behalf of all students we feel very strongly that it should be paid attention to.”

Stauber said the test routes will be available for all students and are expected to run one Saturday in March and one in April.

This is not the first time Parking and Transportation Services has teamed up with OIE to provide bus trips for students. During fall semester the offices planned a trip to Jungle Jim’s, but because the demand was low, they did not make the route regular.

According to Cummings, Parking and Transportation Services has never had a bus route to Wal-Mart, and costs for students will be determined when the demand is further examined.

“When we know the dates of the test routes, we will publicize them through various offices,” Cummings said.

She encourages students to follow Miami Parking on Facebook and Twitter for updates.