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Students ride on driverless bus for first time

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 00:18:21-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Students at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi got a chance to ride the new self-driving bus today.

"I saw it coming to campus this morning and me and my friend drove around it and saw there was no driver in it it was like self-sufficient," said freshman Michael Galvan.

The RTA debuted the new SURGE shuttle bus on campus this morning. RTA representatives greeted students at various stops and handed out free promotional items.

According to the university, SURGE is the first shuttle to launch on a complex route, in an uncontrolled environment, with connection to a public transportation system including the new FLEX Service. It runs on a fixed route but has the flexibility to deviate from the route to accommodate riders at on-demand stops. The shuttle uses GPS, sensors, cameras and other measures to know when to stop.

Students say they're looking forward to using the shuttle to get across campus faster.

"It's really hard parking here especially when they do events where they'll close down parking lots so something like this around campus for more of our campus kids this would be a lot more helpful," said Kaitlyn O'Leary, a freshman at TAMUCC.

The shuttle can hold up to 12 riders. It will run free of charge to anyone Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m.