At the beginning of this semester, UConn students received a UConn Daily Digest notification from Transportation Services announcing significant changes to the bus lines. These changes include the closure of red and yellow lines and a reconstruction of some of the remaining routes “to service key stops with shorter wait times.” Additionally, purple line has ceased to service the Depot Campus stops.
This new development has posed far too many problems for students who use the bus system. While some changes cannot be avoided due to construction and closed roads on campus, others have come to be quite inconvenient for students who live farther from campus and might need the bus system just to get to their classes. For students who live in complexes like Charter Oak Apartments and Busby Suites, this means that the buses are extremely crowded, and they are lucky to get a seat on one without having to wait for the next one. In addition, the schedules have become unreliable, and students are sometimes late for class due to their attempts to navigate the bus system.
At least these students do live within walking distance of their classes. The absence of purple line, however, has left some students searching for transportation to UConn facilities that are far outside of walking distance. In particular, the line no longer services Depot Campus, which is still the operating location for the Community School of the Arts, the Center for Clean Energy Engineering and UConn Human Resources. Some puppetry majors have the majority of their classes in the Puppet Arts Complex, which belongs to the Community School of the Arts, and some undergraduate and graduate students alike travel to the Center for Clean Energy Engineering for research.
The Depot Campus stops were removed due to low ridership data, but the issue is that some of these students do not have cars and therefore were relying solely upon purple line to get them where they needed to be. The line was replaced by a ride scheduling service, but rides must be reserved at least two hours in advance, and there are only four vehicles on duty. This service is not enough for students who need to be in the area at different times, for class as well as research. It also does not serve students who need to use these facilities outside of class time, without two hours’ notice.
If UConn wishes to continue to have operational facilities at Depot and elsewhere around campus, it must provide transportation for its students to do so. While the restructuring of bus lines is necessary due to construction, it must be done more effectively so that all students have access to the transportation services they need.