Students adjust as UConn Transportation buses lose radios amid complaints

The University of Connecticut’s Transportation Services removed the radios from all 19 of its passenger buses at the beginning of October in order to “reduce potential distractions in the bus," UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

Perhaps students have begun to notice the silence.

The University of Connecticut’s Transportation Services removed the radios from all 19 of its passenger buses at the beginning of October, according to UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. This was done because of complaints regarding the volume/genre of the music played from passengers, and in order to “reduce potential distractions in the bus.”

“The speakers are installed primarily for the vehicles’ public address system, not to listen to music, so having the radios was never a necessity,” Reitz said. “In fact, having music playing adds to the noise that buses already produce as part of their regular operations. What’s particularly important – and what’s driving this change – is that UConn wants to do anything and everything possible to ensure the safest conditions on its buses, including eliminating as many distractions as possible.”

No other public transit system in the state of Connecticut has radios installed in their buses.

Reitz also explained the new policy as modern, in that most of the people riding the bus are listening to music through their phones, with their headphones. Therefore, “passengers can freely enjoy whatever they wish while the bus operators put their sole focus on driving,” Reitz said.

The decision to remove the radios was made by Transportation Services with “the support of others in the administration,” according to Reitz.

Complaints ranged from calling radio on the bus “disruptive” to fears of the music being “potentially distracting to the drivers.”

Reitz said that there is no threshold number for the amount of complaints it takes to change a university policy, and there is no “hard and firm” amount of complaints that were filed either last year or this year. The complaints were received in the second half of the month of September.

And yet, students say, the beat goes on.

“My bus driver on Tuesday was bumping ‘Where Ya At’ by Future,” Matt Burton, a fifth-semester business major said, referring to last week.

“I take the bus every day and most all play music,” Helen Kilby, a fifth-semester speech language hearing sciences major said, to which Kelly Lewis and Sierra Markelon, fifth-semester business and elementary education majors, respectively, assented.

“I mean, I don’t know if it’s [through] radio, but they can play music,” Lewis added.

Some drivers are staying true to the rules, though.

“I had a bus driver last week that wasn’t playing music because of the new rules, he was talking about it,” Hillary Ballek, a fifth-semester ecology and evolutionary biology major, said.


Sten Spinella is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sten.spinella@uconn.edu.