New route in store for bus system

By Ethan Frenchman

A new CTA bus route between Union and Northwestern Stations and the U of C campus will start in February, and is being overseen by Brian Shaw, the director of transportation and parking services. The new route will replace a University of Chicago Hospitals chartered shuttle service and will be available to anyone, not just hospital patients as before.

Other than this addition, students and staff should not expect many changes anytime soon.

“This academic year is a planning year, and the plans should begin to be implemented by the beginning of the 2006-2007 school year,” said Student Government Transportation and Security Committee chair and second-year in the College Kyle Lee.

Shaw intends to first collect data on campus transportation before making any significant changes, such as altering bus routes and schedules or providing students with U-Passes, an unlimited CTA-ride pass for full-time University students, as suggested by some.

“Users will see no changes between now and July 1,” Shaw said. “This allows us to eventually make improvements and cost efficiencies and achieve economies of scale with the transportation service.”

Before the creation of the post of director of transportation and parking services, oversight of the University’s transportation services was split between three different employees of the housing and dining office. The University of Chicago Master Plan determined that transportation was facing numerous challenges and required a full-time position.

Both the U of C Campus Master Plan and many student users identify the University’s transportation service as in need of improvement.

“The campus master planning process had identified a need to create a transportation system that recognizes some of the issues around campus: lack of parking and inter- and intra-campus transportation, especially as south campus becomes developed and built out,” said Richard Mason, director of operations and communications for housing and dining services.

Some students also consider University transportation to be inadequate. Lee highlighted untimely buses, night transportation, the new dorm, and downtown transportation as challenges Shaw must confront.

Alison Wendlandt, a third-year in the College, said she thinks that “there should be a single bus with more service around Hyde Park that runs more often.”

Other students find bus service to be inaccessible either because of its route or complicated scheduling. “I never bothered to even learn the schedule,” said Andrea Przybysz, a fourth-year in the College. “I just take it if it passes by.”