Commuting faculty and staff adjust to rising gas prices and other variables
With so many drivers on the road and more construction happening on I-35, commuting has become more difficult for the university’s professors and staff. How do they adjust to challenges and make ends-meet?
For executive assistant Phyllis Rogers, the best way is to live in Belton during the week and return to her hometown of Bryan during the weekends. She has an apartment a few miles away from campus and lives in the Central Texas area Monday through Friday afternoon.
Rogers did try to work in College Station for a little while, but she had a change of heart.
“I tried to go back. I took a job at CS….But I missed this place so much. I just got home sick. I came back….,” she said. Once you’re here, there’s just not a better place.”
Weekly commuting has been her routine for almost six years now, and she does not mind.
Rogers did attempt to drive to and from Belton for work every day, but it only lasted for two days.
She said, “My husband did mention one time to live in Bryan and just drive back and forth. I was just on the road all the time. I didn’t get to spend time with my husband.”
University Chaplain Dr. George Loutherback, a Waco resident, said one of the variables that has changed for him is a car. Because of knee pains of driving a lower car, Loutherback purchased an SUV.
“It sets me up higher. It’s a lot less stress on my knees,” he said.
Loutherback used to spend many nights in Belton during major events like Welcome Week and Revival. However, there was just one problem.
He said, “I sleep better in my own bed. So I make the trip back home even though it’s late.”
Psychology Professor, who lives near Moody, Cecilia Erlund, addresses one of the major concerns: gas. Like other professors, it is a burden to fill up frequently.
She said, “There is stress having to fill up so often. I used to not think about it too much. But now, I do just like everyone else. I’m constantly watching who has a good price today.”
Not only that, but because of traffic, more signal lights and speed limit changes, Erlund’s 18-mile drive takes longer than ever.
She said, “When I first started … it was about a 20-minute drive and now it’s about a 35- minute drive.”
Loutherback and Erlund both look at the positive side and suggest an advantage to commuting.
“Gives me time to think and process,” Erlund said.
Loutherback said, “Gives me a time to process …. I do a lot of thinking and praying.”