March 30, 2007

Transportation Office tweaks bus routes

In response to student complaints, the CTA and the University Transportation and Parking Office have added a bus to the #170 route and readjusted the #171 route.

An additional bus is running on the #170 route during morning and afternoon rush hours. The bus will now offer service from the 57th Street Metra stop to campus every 10 minutes.

The midday route for the #171 was readjusted to meet class ending time. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., the #171 will reach 57th and University on the hour and half hour.

“The changes to the midday schedule for the #171 will make it easier for students living at the Shoreland and Broadview to get to and from campus,” said Brian Shaw, director of campus transportation and parking services.

Shaw said the additional bus running on the #170 route will help solve overcrowding and other problems with the old schedule. The extra bus will also make it easier for commuters to use the 57th Street Metra Station, Shaw said.

“We will also be operating a midday shuttle from the Shoreland to Stony Island to campus via 59th [Street] and University [Avenue]. This will double frequency to and from the Shoreland between 11 [a.m.] and 3 [p.m.],” he said.

Paul Ryer, assistant director of housing for the Shoreland, expressed optimism about the changes. “I absolutely hope that these [changes] will be effective and helpful. People have requested them, and it does seem logical that they go better with people’s class schedules.”

Some Shoreland residents believe that the adjustment will not solve the problems with the #171. Shoreland resident and third-year Lana Harfoush said that her primary concern with the #171 is not its route, but overcrowding. “I think the route is great, much better than last year when it went to B-J before Cobb, so it’s really more of a capacity issue than anything else,” Harfoush said.

Fourth-year Kara Schoonmaker, another Shoreland resident, expressed the same concern. “During the morning hours especially, they just can’t seem to run enough buses to meet the demand. I’ve ridden the bus at all hours of the morning, between 8 a.m. and noon, and nearly every bus is uncomfortably jam-packed with riders,” she said.

TJ Ha, a first-year undergraduate who lives in the Shoreland, said he doubts that the adjustment will change anything. “I think the biggest problem is coordination of the buses rather than the bus route itself,” he said.

For some students, the unreliability of the #171 has had academic repercussions. Ha said that on the day of his winter quarter Spanish midterm, the #171 was running so late that he was forced to take a taxi from the Shoreland to Cobb.

Schoonmaker said that the #171 has made her late for classes, but that another #171 schedule adjustment will cause more confusion among riders.

Students have been voicing their opinions all year, and Ryer said that he encourages students to keep doing so. The Transportation Office has been very willing to improve its services and listen to students, Ryer said.

The CTA held a public hearing March 14 regarding the bus routes serving the University. In addition, the Transportation and Parking Office will be conducting a campus-wide survey.

“The survey will help [us] understand the transportation needs of the entire University community,” Shaw said. “We will use the survey results to help with route planning for the future.”�