A complete overhaul of the University of Connecticut's bus line system has elicited an outpouring of criticism from the student body.
On July 23, UConn Transportation announced on Facebook that they have restructured the routes for all UConn shuttle buses starting in the fall.
The changes have shortened many routes; bus lines that used to service multiple areas across campus, like the Red and Blue lines, will only be servicing certain sections of campus.
For example, the Red line will no longer service Towers, and the Blue line will no longer service Hilltop Apartments. The Yellow and Orange lines will cover the exact same route around campus but with slightly different stops along the same roads, and Orange line will no longer stop along Horsebarn Hill, which will be taken over by the Purple Line.
UConn Transportation Services did not respond to requests for comment.
Jake Chicano, a seventh-semester engineering major and a resident of Hilltop Apartments, used to use both the Blue and Red lines to get to his classes on a daily basis and was used to the schedule of both buses. Now, he’s going to have to relearn it all.
“Both Red and Blue were necessary to get around campus, even with a car, they covered just about anywhere you could possibly need to go,” Chicano said. “I can’t wait to see how packed the buses will be when it’s a rainy day and everyone has to hop on two buses.”
L.J. Karam, a seventh-semester economics major, is living off-campus for the first time in the Oaks and won’t have a car on campus. She said she’ll need to use the buses a lot more now, and thinks the schedule for off-campus students is overly cumbersome.
“The gap in time between when buses come and go is going to be a huge inconvenience, especially for people living on Hunting Lodge Road and in Carriage who have to leave at least an hour early for their 8 a.m. classes if they want to take Purple line, because the bus operates every fifty minutes at that time,” Karam said.
Ron Deb, a seventh-semester economics major, is a commuter student who drives from Glastonbury to Storrs for class. Last year, he always parked in W lot since it was the cheapest and most convenient commuter option, but with only one line going up there, it’s going to affect the time he leaves home.
“The changes will increase the time it takes for me to get to my classes which are all in Oak and Laurel Hall compared to last semester,” Deb said.
Deb added that the changes will affect where he hangs out on campus, now that the overall coverage of the routes around campus has been decreased.
“It’ll also be harder for me to get to everything on the southern half of the campus,” Deb said. “Now I’ll hang out more in the NextGen area, but these bus routes making W lot less accessible is going to push me off campus and make me hang out much more with friends in their apartments, or head home once my classes are done due to the increased difficulty in reaching my car from much of the campus.”
Kayla Fung, a 7th-semester accounting major, lives in South, one of the areas most greatly affected by the changes. Under the changes, there is no direct line from the South side of campus to the North side of campus, making it difficult for residents to get around campus when the weather starts to worsen.
“I'll be relying on the new Orange and Yellow lines,” Fung said. “But other than those two lines, I can't really get anywhere else with the buses because no other lines are convenient for South… I'd be very discouraged from going out if the weather was bad.”
Fung also has friends who will be living in Hilltop, and the new routes don’t give her any easy way to get there. Going to Price Chopper to get groceries will take longer than she wants it to as well.
“I really don't understand the new bus routes. It must have been designed by someone who isn't a student who takes the buses, because there's no way a student would think of something so inconvenient for all of us,” Fung said. “The buses are made to make traveling around campus more convenient, but what's the use if all the buses only cover such small areas of the campus? Getting from certain parts of campus to other parts won't be possible without a bus transfer.”
“Overall, I'm not happy with these new bus routes,” Fung added. “If UConn really cared about its students, they'll see how many of us are unhappy with this change and do something about it.”
Stephanie Sheehan is the managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She tweets @steph_sheehan.