Elias Weiss is the opinion editor for the Arkansas Traveler, where he worked as a reporter and columnist from 2018-2019. Elias graduated with an AA degree in journalism from Central Piedmont Community College in 2018.

Traffic on football gamedays is a headache for people in Fayetteville trying to get from one place to another. If UA officials put more buses in operation around parking garages and bigger lots farther away from campus, congestion would decrease and attendees wouldn’t have to walk to and from the game.

Most universities in the U.S. use a bussing system to transport fans from distant lots to their stadiums’ curbsides. Arkansas is no exception, but these bussing systems are not created equally. Arkansas’ gameday transit falls short of similarly-sized schools like Virginia Tech University, for example.

Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium has capacity for 76,000 fans. Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium seats a whopping 10,000 less than Arkansas – but five gameday bus routes at Virginia Tech service 26 stops around Blacksburg. Arkansas’ two routes total just eight off-campus parking facilities.

Even Virginia Tech’s gameday bus offers far fewer off-campus lots than other SEC West schools like Missouri and Alabama, which run as many as 16 buses per route on game days.

The UofA has 25 Razorback Transit Buses, in comparison to Virginia Tech’s Blacksburg Transit, which has 69 buses. What’s worse, Fayetteville’s population of 85,000 is almost twice that of Blacksburg, with 44,000 people, according to U.S. Census – but Fayetteville barely has one-third the running buses they do.

At both universities, based on the area a car is parked, there is a designated bus color that matches that area. After the game, you get onto that bus, and it takes you to the lot where your car is parked. But the UA bus system is insufficient to meet the needs of fans and commuters.

Fayetteville’s traffic problem is worsened by the fact that, on football gamedays, up to 70% of the fans in attendance are visitors from out of town. Last year, in their worst season on record, Arkansas averaged 60,000 attendees per game. That means about 42,000 people show up from out of town for every home game.

Let’s assume everyone drives to Fayetteville in full cars – that’s still over 10,000 new cars introduced to town on a given Saturday morning.

Razorback Transit’s Orion VII buses seat 43 people per bus. If everyone parked away from Fayetteville’s major roadways, it could reduce the number of extra vehicles on the road by at least four times.

Locals and game attendees have to plan their Saturdays based on traffic flow between August and November.

“Gameday traffic is terrible. I was trying to get to a restaurant that was two minutes away, and it ended up taking me 15 minutes,” Freshman Jacob MacKenna said.

Most game attendants pay for parking that is close to the stadium, but this takes away parking spots for some students who pay extra for special parking.

“Parking is tough, even though I have a Harmon parking pass, because people attending the game can pay to park in Harmon,” Dylan Smith, a freshman, said.

Students pay $926 every year to park in the Harmon Garage.

Many students also think UofA gameday traffic patterns aren’t clear, and this can be a struggle for people trying to navigate major roads. Students and people in Fayetteville who are trying to get around don’t know what is shut down or how to properly get to their destinations.

“The roads being shut down is inconvenient, and people don’t know how to drive because they don’t know what’s shut down,” Colby Williams, a freshman, said.

If attendees of the game were required to park further away and the UofA got its bus system up to par, then main roads close to campus such as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Razorback Road wouldn’t be as congested and non-attendees could navigate their days as normal.

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