The University of Connecticut’s Department of Transportation is slated to change the Yellow bus line for the spring 2019 semester, based on the results of a survey sent out in Dec. 2018 to the student body, according to a press release sent out by Transportation last week. The changes come after a large amount of student lashback against bus line changes that took place in the fall 2018 semester, and were met with mixed reactions from the student body, some of whom felt that student concerns weren’t properly addressed despite the feedback.
The survey, which accumulated over 700 responses, indicated that “66 [percent]” of students wanted Yellow Line to service T Lot and W Lot in addition to Horsebarn Hill according to the press release. () The new line will service central campus, as well as the new locations, according to the press release.
The formerly on-demand Weekend Shuttle, due to “unacceptably long wait times” will now operate on a fixed route with coordinated transfers, according to the release. The buses will also operate with an automatic passenger counter, and have had GPS tracking installed.
While the changes were made on the results of the survey, which Transportation launched after student demand for increased transparency and input, some said that the changes didn’t truly address the issues students are still facing.
“It’s frustrating that although there is a student need for a bus line from Hilltop to South Campus, they still didn’t add it,” Annie Clark, a fourth-semester speech, language and hearing sciences major, said. “Red Line remains the only bus line to access the Hilltop area, and it only goes through North campus.”
Student activist Omar Taweh, who helped organize an open forum for students to bring their concerns to administrators about the parking and transportation issues last fall said that while the changes made are beneficial, they aren’t enough.
Things like weekend lines and yellow line…are great to address,” Taweh said. “But they totally left out working on the issues students are the most frustrated over – transport to the center of campus.”
Taweh brought up the fact that Facilities has not yet addressed any of the issues that students brought up about parking, which was a heated topic for the previous semester.
“Parking is a whole other issue that has literally been ignored by Transportation. They keep saying they have no other options so they just ignore complaints,” Taweh said. “But that’s a totally unacceptable response, especially for a University dumping money they don’t fully have into building nice facilities and classrooms and residence halls.
Taweh said the survey was not comprehensive enough for students to point out the issues with the bus lines, and that it was poorly advertised, which he advised Transportation Services against.
“The problem I see is not [administrators] don’t want to help improve the lives of students because they obviously do, and it would be stupid to assume they don’t,” Taweh said. “The real problem rooted in UConn’s admin culture – administrators assume they know what is best for students because they “have experience” but in my mind, that is an excuse they use to not have to “waste time” dealing with students.”
The best way for administrators to deal with student complaints is to listen and address them, Taweh said.
“Students were annoyed because Parking & Transpo was not giving them the services they expected,” Taweh said. “So for them to “fix the issues” while missing the main concerns students have… it’s very discouraging.”
Marlese Lessing is the news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She tweets @marlese_lessing.