University of Connecticut Transportation Services suspended four bus routes and reduced service on two bus lines this week in response to low ridership.
Under these changes, the Green, Purple and Parking Express bus lines will no longer run. The Depot line will run only as an on-demand service and requires a reservation. The Red and Yellow lines will operate two buses instead of three. Monday through Friday at 10 p.m., regular bus lines will pause, and Campus Loop One and Two will run until midnight. On Saturdays, bus services will end at midnight.
According to the Transportation Services website, commuter students assigned to Lot C may now park in the eastern portion of Lot F, previously reserved for university employees, and access the Silver line.
In an email to the Daily Campus, Associate Director of Parking and Transportation Dwight Atherton said this semester, Lot C saw less than 40 vehicles at a given time.
“It was reasonable to discontinue the Green line service and relocate the Lot C permit holders to Lot F. By doing so, the students have more convenient parking, and [the] university recognizes fiscal and environmental savings,” Atherton said.
These reductions will save the university $250,000 and meet a carbon reduction of 710 metric tons, according to an announcement posted on the Transportation Services website.
Atherton said that as long as ridership demand remains constant, these changes will continue through the spring semester. Additionally, he said the university plans to close two commuter parking lots.
“This winter, we plan to close Lot C, Lot J, and a large portion of Lot W, saving the University significant snow removal expenses. Student parking will be consolidated in locations closer to the central campus. As a result, the Parking Express service will be neither needed nor reinstated,” he said.
Transportation Services said they established these changes because of a decline in ridership this semester.
“The demand for commuter student parking and our on-campus transit service is extraordinarily low this year,” Transportation Services wrote in the reduction announcement, “Ridership on our shuttles is down 82% from last year, with the HuskyGo system averaging just three passengers per quarter-hour on its buses. These data strongly support our need to reduce service.”
Micayla Hopson, a first-semester graduate student studying audiology, makes the 30-minute drive from her home in Manchester to UConn once a week. Hopson said she and a friend rely on the Yellow line to get to class and missed the bus because of the reductions.
“We had to get here at the exact time, or else we had to walk across campus. It is frustrating,” Hopson said. “This morning, we missed it, and [a bus] wouldn’t come for another 20 minutes, so we had to walk, or else we’d miss class.”
Commuter student Dhaval Patel, a seventh-semester electrical engineering major, said that at times the walk from the parking lot to class is “not worth it.”
“The walk to campus is 25 or 20 minutes, so you have to take the bus if you want to make it on time,” Patel said.
The new reductions mean that many buses will run with less frequency. For on-peak hours between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m., the Blue line runs 10 minutes slower than last year. The Red and Yellow lines now run five minutes slower. The Silver line runs 15 minutes slower. The Orange line saw no changes and continues to run every 15 minutes.
This semester, during off-peak hours before 8 a.m. and after 7 p.m., the Red and Silver lines run every 40 minutes and the Yellow line runs every 30 minutes.